Christmas Lights (Help)

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by daztaz, Dec 8, 2005.

  1. daztaz

    daztaz TPF Noob!

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    Hi, I am a brand new member, (just joined in fact). Could anyone tell me the best settings to use to photograph Christmas lights at night. I want to enter my house into a local competition, but so far am not happy with the results I've got.
    I am not a proffesional, but do like to take loads of pics, especially of my kids. I would love to become professional and run my own studio eventually.
     
  2. KevinR

    KevinR TPF Noob!

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    What kind of camera are you using?

    I know if I where doing it, I would set-up the camera on a tripod and shoot pretty long exposures. Say 1/8th of a sec to 1/2 sec to maximize the lighting.
     
  3. daztaz

    daztaz TPF Noob!

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    :thumbup: Thanx Kevin, I will give that a try tonight.
     
  4. Rob

    Rob TPF Noob!

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    Taking pictures of illuminated objects at night is quite easy if you have control over your camera.

    Firstly and most importantly, you need a tripod. It's highly unlikely that the exposure will be short enough to permit hand holding. So put your camera on a tripod.

    Black will feature in your picture, so minimise noise by using low ISO film (which has better reciprocity) or low manual ISO on digital.

    Try AP or A mode on your camera and set your aperture to mid-range to get a longish exposure, but without massive starbursts. f8 is usually optimum.

    The exposure will probably be in the range of 10s to 5 minutes, so take your woollen mitts if it's cold.

    Bracket your settings, methodologically by stepping up and down the f-numbers and exposure times to optimise your chances of getting it right.

    Avoid including streetlights in your shot (they are quite distracting and unpleasant to look at). Also avoid floodlights and similar.

    Turn the flash off (obviously).

    That should help!

    Rob
     
  5. daztaz

    daztaz TPF Noob!

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    :wink: I am currently using a Fuji Finepix 602Z. If that helps.
     
  6. daztaz

    daztaz TPF Noob!

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    Thanx Rob, I will try that too. Glad I joined here, looks like I have a chance of finally getting somewhere with my photography if I have help like this at my fingertips.
     

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