Tis' the season: to post pictures of your Christmas Tree on facebook! Everyone seems to be featuring their own artistic interpretation of their perfect evergreen. Whether you are a fresh cut, natural family or the faux fir type; why not spice up your Tree Tribute a bit? Here are some simple ideas for the newest photographer on up to the pros.
I used the reflection of my trimmed tree in the decorative glass of my front door. Other ideas, using the reflection from a hanging picture, mirror or even the television screen. Choose to focus on the "real thing" or the reflection and allow the counterpart to blur out of focus for an artistic touch.
Choose a New Perspective:
Shoot from above, shoot from below, or shoot through the middle of your tree! This image is shot downward through the branches featuring an accent on the tree skirt. The key here is featuring something specific and special to you, whether it be an ornament, a tree skirt or your tree topper.
Dim the Lights:
I love how just turning off the overhead light and using only the tree lights (and in this case the light of the fire) to really set a mood. All this scene needs is a plate of cookies and a glass of milk to really be the night before Christmas.
Do it DARKER:
By knocking out all ambient light and opting for a relatively short shutter time, to simply pick up the glow of the tree lights you can easily create a very moody feeling for your tree image.
So Close; But so Far:
This option is a close up of a specific area of the tree, however using manual focus to intentionally blur everything. It's like beer goggles for photography. These firefly inspired lights are fabulous to use as blog backgrounds, or faded elements behind type on christmas cards, etc.
You've heard the word, you've seen some examples. You may not understand it but you know it's hot hot HOT! Here are some samples of varying levels of bokeh (aka light balls). The easiest way to get this effect is to use a tripod, but if you don't have one find a chair or a flat stable surface to hold your camera. And here's the hardest step: take your camera off of Auto mode, if you have a dslr turn off the autofocus on your lens. Your camera tries to be smarter than you, it tries to find focus because it doesn't realize that what you WANT isn't actually in focus. This is also one time where I recommend using the live-view feature because it's so easy to see those light balls expand and glow when you enter into bokeh-land.
Light touch Bokeh--still enough focus to present a dream-like scene.
The image now lacks definition aside from the balls of light which still create the general shape of the tree.
Obviously if you've worked a great deal on the fine details of your tree, you're not going to want to go this bokeh crazy! But you can really push the limits and create a beautiful abstract by bumping that bokeh even further!
Finally, if you have a cool feature--show it off!
This year we went with a rotating tree, it spins, it's slow and we have to remember to actually decorate the back of the tree this time. But by utilizing a tripod and a 10 second exposure I was able to capture the motion. In short, sure your instagram Christmas tree picture is getting likes. But, why not take a few extra steps to make something outstanding! Bring on the Holly Jolly! -Loni
PS If you enjoyed this mini-tutorial be sure to leave a note or pass it on to your friends. If you have topics you'd like for me to cover in the future send a message on over! Thanks!