How can your pictures capture the colorful glow of the lights? The "trick" is to turn off your camera's flash!
That's the key: Turn off that handy built-in flash Otherwise the bright light will overwhelm the subtle lights in your picture.
Point and shoot camerasOf course, certain things follow from this: When you turn off your flash, you won't have enough light for split-second exposure. Your automatic camera will compensate by opening the shutter for a longer time - maybe a second or longer.
Let your camera's built-in meter decide automatically.
|Short Shutter Speed||Long Shutter Speed|
However a very long exposure will become blurry if either the camera moves or the tree lights move or both.
To minimize this risk, we recommend two further steps:
Step 1: Steady your camera. Hand holding just won't do. Your best bet is to use a tripod. If not, place the camera on a solid surface, such as a fence post, car roof, etc.
Step 2: Use your camera's preset 'scene' modes like 'night shot' or 'fireworks'. These modes will keep the shutter open for a little longer to allow more light in. Modes like those help take the guess work out of taking photos.
|Hand Held with Long Exposure|
SLR (Single Lens Reflex) Cameras
These are the cameras that you can change the lenses. I recommend a wide angle zoom lens such as a 18-55mm lens. First of all you will need a tripod. Also, if your camera has a mirror lock feature, enable it. This will further reduce the chance of any camera shake. For photographing lights, I have 3 options:
1. Aperture priority mode: This will automatically set the shutter speed in order to capture the light needed for proper exposure. Set the aperture to the desired f/stop, usually 5.6 is good. The shutter speed is automatically determined.
2. Shutter priority mode: Aperture is automatically set and the shutter speed is manually set. I recommend anywhere from 1/4 to 8 seconds, depending on how much light you want to capture. This will take some experimenting, so if your SLR is digital, take lots of pictures and choose the best ones.
3. Fully manual mode: Aperture and shutter speed is manually set. Set the aperture to the desired setting and the shutter speed is the same as step 2.
Finally, a remote shutter release is highly recommended, but not required. Although it's not a good idea to snap the picture with the shutter release on the camera, it could be done with a very steady move. The best alternative to a remote shutter release is to set the timer on the camera, and press the shutter release. This will allow time for the camera to steady before the picture is taken.
Now, if your camera doesn't have these modes as mentioned above, there is another way. Change the sensitivity of your camera. This is indicated by the ISO. Most cameras will give allow you to change these settings from 100, 200, 400, and auto. Though most digital cameras go as low as 50 and up to 3200.
The larger value of the sensitivity allows you to take pictures in darker locations. NOTE the detail on the fence and grass. Also the shadows cast by the 3 trees.
|0.74sec 200 ISO||0.5sec 400 ISO|
|0.12sec 1600 ISO||0.77sec 3200 ISO|
However be careful, as speckling (or noise) is also increased.