It’s time to pull out those manual DLSR cameras! Because you need to capture some super adorable pictures your kids with your Christmas tree! Or you just need a pretty shot of your tree that actually does it more justice than your phone… Today I’m super excited to share exactly how to photograph Christmas trees in the daylight!
How to photograph Christmas trees in the daylight (and still capture the glow):
1. Turn your ISO up.
In my house, my Christmas tree is in the darkest room. So while there is daylight for some natural lighting, it’s still a pretty dark photo. I turn my ISO up to 3200. (I fixed graininess from such a high ISO is post processing!)
2. Turn the aperture down.
If I’m only taking pictures of one of my daughters, I turn my aperture down as far as it goes. As I already said, here I was using my 35mm f/2 wide angle lens. In simple talk, the “f”, or f stop, is the aperture. My lens is f/2, so it can go down to 2.0.
Since I was juggling between the two girls, I only turned it down to 2.5. The more you turn it down, or in real photographer talk, “open it up”, the blurrier you can get the background. Since sometimes the girls are in each other’s backgrounds, I didn’t want to turn it all the way down. Otherwise, I often capture one of them in focus and the other blurry.
3. Focus on your subject.
As in, switch off you automatic selection so that you can make sure to focus on your subject rather than your tree! If they are facing the camera focus on their eyes, if they have their back to the camera, focus on their hair. (A blurry blob of hair always annoys me for some reason…)
4. Find the right white balance.
Mine did quite well on auto, however, I did adjust it a little more in post processing to add a little more blue and a tiny bit more pink. Try out tungsten because of the Christmas light source, daylight because of the natural light coming in, and auto. See which is best for your lighting situation.
5. Position your subjects near the window.
Ideally, I would have a window closer me for some natural lighting to light up the front of their faces, but my only window is right next to, and right behind my Christmas tree. So I guided the girls to the right side of the tree for these photos with the intention of getting some of that natural light shining on them from the side. (I love side lighting!)
They love to go around the side toward the back, so when Anabelle did wandered, the window to the right of the tree was then shining directly on her face. In the photo directly below, I used selective focus to focus on her eyes, which left the tree closest to the camera blurry. I love using my depth of field (that low aperture!) this way!
And that’s how you photograph Christmas trees in the daylight!
A couple notes while editing:
If you shoot your images in JPEG, meaning you edit JPEG files, get rid of any grain using these steps! If you shoot in RAW (Don’t know what that is? Read about it here!) Then I will link instructions as I finish putting them together!