Dec 10, 2020 | By: Brenda Jankowski -Newtown PA photographer
Capturing the Beauty of Holiday Lights
Every December, millions of sparkling lights illuminate cities & homes everywhere,
dazzling viewers. It's one thing you can still do this year to enjoy the holiday. It’s reported that people are going grander and decorating earlier than in prior years – so it’s more perfect than ever to take those car rides. Maybe even caravan to see the local lights then stop at a nearby lot and have a socially distanced hot chocolate!
Whether you are strolling around Rockefeller Center, on Main Street or admiring your own light set up this year, here are a few tips for getting the best photos of Christmas lights.
FIND A GREAT SPOT
Don’t just stop and take a photo. Walk around. Take a look at all angles. Get down low and explore it from the height of a toddler. Photograph the details as well as the overall look.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING
The trick to getting good photos of outdoor light displays is to star shooting at dusk. Get to your location early, this is a short window of time. If you shoot too early in the evening, the lights won’t pop in your photos. If you shoot too late, the lights will look like tiny points floating in space.
Why can’t you take a photo that looks exactly like what you see? Unlike your eyes, cameras have a limited range. They can only focus on either the bright lights or the dark surroundings (although today’s phone cameras are pretty good), but not both at the same time.
LIGHTS. CAMERA. ACTION!
Once you are set up, watch the sky. As it slowly darkens into a deeper blue, you will notice that the Christmas lights will appear to shine brighter. The best time for photos is only about 10 -15 minutes, so snap away. Pause once or twice to be sure that everything is turning out the way you want. When the sky is completely dark, your photos will start to lose detail and look empty.
Lights taken too late into the night - they just look like a jumble. Lights taken just before sunset.
Finally, put the camera away, grab some hot chocolate, and enjoy the lights the old fashioned way