Friday, December 16, 2011

I am honored and excited to have been asked to guest post over here at Three Mango Seeds!  The oh-so-talented Clydia has long been one of my very favorite girls, and the idea that she thinks I've got any neat ideas...well, let's just say I'm flattered! 



Although I'm pretty crafty, my two primary arts are jewelry-making and photography.  This being the Christmas season and all, I want to share with everyone an easy-peasy tutorial for photographing your Christmas tree beautifully.  I mean, you spend all of that time gussying it up, right?  Why not take a stunning picture of it? 



Of course, being a photographer, I have a DSLR camera, which allows me to quickly and easily adjust my settings.  But what if you've only got a point and shoot (P&S)?  Well, you're in luck...I will give you the modified version...just like in yoga!



The way I see it, you've got two options:  glow or twinkle.



Glowing
This image is SOOC (straight out of camera), which means I haven't touched it with editing software.  Here's how I did it:
1.  On DSLR camera, set aperture to widest opening (lowest number).  Mine was at f/3.5, which was the limit for that lens.  DO NOT zoom your lens, move your camera to the appropriate distance instead.  For a P&S, set your camera to macro mode (the icon is a flower).
2.  On a DSLR, set the shutter speed to a low setting for a slow speed.  Mine was at 1/15, but you may need anywhere from 1/5 to 1/30, depending upon the light in the room.  Just play with it until you get one you like.  For P&S, you will need to set your mode to Night Photo (icon is usually star and moon).
3.  Set your ISO to the highest number possible.  There should be an easy to locate button or menu option for DSLR and P&S cameras for this setting.  Mine was 3200.
4.  Use a tripod.  Or a stack of books.  Or the couch.  Basically, something that doesn't move.
5.  Use your camera's timer so that you don't get handshake when you depress the shutter button.
6..  Turn every light except the tree OFF.  With a wide open aperture and slow shutter, your camera is going to pull in every ounce of light it can to expose the photo.
 NOTE:  If you're going to have a "model" in your photo, they need to hold still, or they'll be blurry.  The train and my 4-year-old son were sitting perfectly still for this one...I know, I'm just as amazed as you are.



Twinkling
Again, this is SOOC. 
1.  Set aperture to the smallest opening (biggest number).  Mine was at f/22.  For P&S cameras, use the landscape setting (icon is a mountain).
2.  Set the shutter to a very slow speed.  Mine was at 1 second, but again, this is really going to be something you'll need to play around with depending upon the available light. 
3.  Set your ISO to a medium to high setting.  Mine was at 800 for this shot...I took it during the day, so I really didn't need the extra compensation for low light.
4.  Use a tripod.
5.  Use the timer.
6.  Dim the room, but it doesn't have to be totally dark.  I just pulled the curtains in the middle of the day.

Welp, there you have it!  Simple as pie...the Sara Lee kind, not the from-scratch kind.  I hope you are able to get some stunners!
If you want to follow my nonsensical gibberish on a regular basis, hop over to WyTography!  I'd also love it if you'd go oogle my photography at Cindy Kay Photography.
{***TIP*** Don't use your flash!}

 
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