Photo Tip Series – How to Photograph Christmas Decorations

Written by: Nathan Wertheimer

The next Photo Tip Series I will be writing about how to photograph Christmas decorations. Everyone loves this time of year in the month of December. There is plenty to photograph this time of year. People love the lit Christmas decorations to being them joy and happiness. Why not capture the memories for a lifetime.

There are always plenty of lit Christmas trees in the area you live in or go to your local city government properties and parks. If you are photographing at night these are some items you need to bring which are a flashlight, tripod, cable release, and a wide-angle lens, plus the your camera. The wide-angle lens I am referring to is the 18-55mm lens, which will work. Make sure your camera is ready to go with charged batteries and plenty of SD cards.

Next, choose a well-decorated holiday location. In the Central Florida area, I would recommend either Lake Eola Park, Lake Mary City Hall, the Holy Land Experience, Light Up UCF, Downtown Sanford, Winter Springs Town Center, Downtown Deland, Cranes Roost Park (No display up for 2015), and many other locations around the Orlando area too.

When you’re on location find the best-decorated holiday area and set-up your tripod. Get your camera ready. Set your camera on manual setting. Next, your ISO should be set to 100 to 800. A high ISO will give grainy photos. Set the aperture at between f8 or f16. The shutter speed will depend on the amount of lighting in the area. You will have to experiment with either the shutter speed to bulb or low light shutter speeds such as 1/20 of a second. There are not rules. Also connect your cable release to the camera to reduce camera shake. Check the back of the camera display to review the photo and make adjustments. Do not use your flash on long exposures because you will not see the natural light and will blow out the scene of the photo.

If you forget your tripod, it is not a problem. There is still a way to photograph the well-decorated holiday scene. First bump your ISO to 2500 to 5K. Just remember you may see some grain from a high ISO in your photo. Set your camera to manual mode. Your f stop range from f4 to f8. The shutter speed will range from 1/50 to 1/200 of a second. You will have to experience to come up with the right combination of f stop and shutter speed. This is what makes photography fun. Another was is to put the camera on a flat surface little a chair or paved ground and put your camera on the timer for a long exposure too.

If you’d would like to see some example of my holiday photography go to and click on the “Holidays” on the top menu. These are some of the photos that will be up for a limited time. Thank you for reading this Photo tip Series and check back again for more Photography Tips in the future.




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