You don’t have to be a photography buff to want to capture images of Christmas lights.  With low energy LEDs, Christmas lighting displays are likely to be bigger and better than ever before. But capturing them with a camera, or even on your mobile phone, is difficult.

LEDs make Christmas lighting displays much more spectacular than ever before. Their flexibility and low running costs mean more people can afford to really go to town with their Christmas decorations.

Sadly photographing lights, whether LEDs or old style fairy lights, isn’t that easy.  So if you feel let down by the quality of your Christmas light photography, we’ve put together a few tips to help you on your way. 

When you take the photograph

The time of day is all important when it comes to Christmas light photography.  Just as dusk is falling is a good time.  Try to avoid peak times when the roads are busy and there are lots of people walking about.  They’ll simply get in the way and spoil your pictures.  Sundays might be the best option, but if you see a really spectacular LED lighting display, it’s worth making a few trips at different times to catch it at its best.

Invest in a tripod

Did you know you can buy tripods small enough to fit in a handbag?  Let’s face it, lugging a tripod around isn’t feasible if you just happen to be out and spot a great display of LED lighting.  Of course, you could always come  back later, but even that isn’t always easy.  The important thing is to avoid camera shake.  If you don’t have a tripod conveniently to hand – improvise.  Look around for a wall to stand your camera on!  It will make the world of difference.

Learn to use your camera

Getting to know all your camera’s settings is always a good idea. Experiment and see what works best.  Who knows, some of those accidental abstract shots might turn out to be real works of art. 
If your camera has a range of different settings, choose the one marked ‘tungsten’.  This adjusts the white balance and will improve your Christmas light shots.

Don’t be flash!

Don’t try to use your flash when photographing LED Christmas lights.  It will make your lights look white and spoil the shot.  Be sure to turn off your flash for best results.

Try and try again

Digital photography is a lot like LED lighting!  In the good old days, you had to pay an arm and leg to have your films developed.  Today, like LEDs, digital photography is affordable and you only need print the shots you want, so you can snap away happily for hours.

Inevitably, you are going to get some wrong.  But what’s wrong with experimenting?  Take as many photographs as you can.  Don’t let the failures get you down and be sure to celebrate your successes.

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