Holiday Lights Tutorial

The last couple of months I have been out in the garage trying to get Christmas lights bokeh in the background of shots I am taking of the dogs. This combined with the fact that I am also trying to use Off Camera Flash to really light the dogs has been a trial. I thought I had some winners until Nancy told me I didn't :) And that is not a criticism at all, because many times we can't see the whole picture, but just our dogs! I so appreciate honest critiquing. Here are a couple of shots I tried to do all in one shot...with OCF and lights. These could MUCH better, but gave me a starting point.

This was taken with my 100 mm lens. F 3.2, ISO 800, 1/125, Flash did fire

3364228738?profile=originalLens 24-70, F 3.2, 1/50, ISO 500 Flash Fired

3364228960?profile=originalNancy suggested I shoot the background separately from the dogs and merge the two photos, which is what I did here. I did this under protest as I am still sure it can all be done in camera :)


So, I think it would be fun for all of us to try some Holiday lights photos while we have lights all around us. 

Here is some great information I found on how to go about doing these kinds of shots with flash. He explains it much better than I can.

Here are most of the points he made....Flash should be on TTL, Use a tripod, Slow shutter speed, and widest aperture you can do. 

and just a few tutorials.

I like the third video, because it shows you can do this assignment without flash. Post your pictures here and tell us what you did and how you did it. We can all help each other learn by doing it together. 

Nancy also had these good points: 

One note, mentioned in one of the videos, is that if your holiday lights are LED, you may have flicker issues unless you shutterspeed is 1/60 or slower. In your pictures it will look like random lights are off. (Speaking from personal experience).

And this ties perfectly as a follow up to last month's lesson about depth of field. (Sorry, couldn't resist.)

it can all be done in camera!  If you want the big circles you need a lot of space. 

Update: Here is another good video that talks about light fall off sent to me by Nancy.

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  • Somehow I missed all of these postings but everyone did great work!

  • Lights!  I feel like I am in a bowl of Fruit Loops trying to edit some very colorful photos. 

    One of my student workers asked if I would take photos when he proposed to his lovely girlfriend. I said, Yes, of course, and only afterwards did I see the location.I had to use lighting for the first time in my life. It was a night photo shoot full of colored lights that changed colors every few moments.  It was a tough time, I had fun, but I know I made errors. That's how we learn, right. 

    Feel free to browse through and critique.  That's how I learn!  Please, only comment here, as they have not announced to their families yet. 

    Used were a speedlight and an LED stick.


    Nash and Danielle - Joanne Priest
    Let me photograph you in this light In case it is the last time That we might be exactly like we were... Adele
  • Here are a couple of Haley.  I used an on-camera speed light.

    93mm, 1/60, f5.3, ISO 100, light bounced off wall.

    3367062470?profile=original78mm, 1/60, f5.0, ISO100, light bounced off ceiling

    3367062662?profile=original(Note the prominent white whisker on the left of Haley's nose.  This is new and always sticks out.)

  • Yes!  Just need some light on your beautiful dogs!!

  • Laurie, after this a try ( not OCF yet) but similar ideas, your photos are phenomenal. Bravo and Barks to you, my friend 

    • Totally agree

  • One more. Same settings but Spud had moved closer to me with a warmer WB 


    • Nice!

    • Adorable, Joanne.  

      I can't get Chance to smile for indoor posed photos, sigh.

    • no tripod

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