Sunday, 22 December 2013

How to Take Great Photos of Your Christmas Tree: 7 Easy Tips

How to Take Great Photos of Your Christmas Tree: 7 Easy Tips

Link to PictureCorrect Photography Tips

How to Take Great Photos of Your Christmas Tree: 7 Easy Tips

Posted: 21 Dec 2013 04:32 PM PST

It’s that time of year again. Christmas is upon us. Your tree is all decorated and presents are piled up underneath. So how do you take photos of your Christmas tree? Here are a few tips:

christmas tree photo

“Christmas Tree” captured by Justin Lane

1. Don’t use flash.

Although this may seem counter-intuitive, if you use a flash, it’ll evenly light the tree, but it will also overpower any lighting you’ve put up. So keep the room lit by whatever light you usually use, and keep the lights on the tree switched on.

2. Use a tripod.

Since you’re going to be using the ambient light in the room, you’ll be using a slow shutter speed. Without a tripod, your shots will come out blurry. Don’t worry of your camera is telling you it needs 20-30 seconds to take the shot. It’s not like the tree is going anywhere, is it?

3. Set ISO to a low setting.

Since you have a tripod, there’s no hurry to use a fast shutter speed. You can also keep the ISO low, say 100 or 200. This will keep noise to a minimum.

4. Blur the background.

Depending on what the tree may have behind it, you may want to use a wide aperture (around f/4) to make sure any background is as out of focus as possible.

christmas tree photography

“Christmas Tree” captured by Maaco

5. Create starbursts.

However, if you shoot at f/16, yes, you’ll get the background of the tree in focus, but as a very nice side effect, all the lights will have little starbursts around them. This is a result of shooting with a small aperture in low light photography.

christmas photography

“Christmas Tree [2010]” captured by Donnie Ray Jones

6. Get close.

In addition to shooting the whole tree, shoot some close ups of the branches and lights, as well. Remember that if you shoot a close up of a shiny bauble, you’ll also likely get a shot of yourself reflected in it.

christmas light photography

“Christmas Trees” captured by Janice Abdalla (Click image to see more from Abdalla.)

7. Reduce camera shake.

If you have a cable release, then use it. If not, use the camera’s self-timer to make sure you minimize any possible camera shake from pressing the shutter.

8. Include people.

Remember to document your friends and family during the holiday season. If you want to take a shot with the family in the frame, you’re going to have to raise the shutter speed to something a bit more reasonable, but try not to go over around 1/50 of a second.

children christmas portrait

“Christmas Time” captured by Lubica (Click image to see more from Lubica.)

Although this is at the limit for hand-holding the camera, your family should be able to stay still for long enough to still capture a great shot.

About the Author:
Phil Moore ( is an experienced London based Professional Photographer.

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

How Photography Can Make a Difference (Video)

Posted: 21 Dec 2013 01:39 PM PST

Can a photograph really make a difference? Marcus Bleasdale, a British photojournalist, believes it can. Take a look at his telling images and listen to his heart-wrenching stories from eastern Congo:

Bleasdale first photographed Congo in 2003 and 2004 to document the exploitation of natural resources in eastern Congo. His images exposed the horrific reality of children’s lives in the region. Children were forced to fight as child soldiers. When the fighting slowed, they were put to work in mines extracting gold, which was then used by rebels to finance the war in eastern Congo. By using one of these images in its campaign, Human Rights Watch was able to stop Metalor Technologies from buying gold from Congo.


Wanting to create the same impact, National Geographic sent Bleasdale back to Congo in early 2013. There are still young child soldiers and there are still children working in mines. But now the gold, tin, and tungsten extracted by the children’s hard labor is being used to make the electronics that we take for granted in other parts of the world.

The materials are exported to neighboring countries before being shipped to the far east, where they are used to make smartphones, laptops, and cameras. These are then shipped all over the world to unassuming consumers who certainly would not condone the conditions in eastern Congo. This is why Bleasdale seeks to increase our knowledge through photography.



And the conflict has causes further problems. Millions of people have been killed and displaced. Women and children flee to camps looking for safety, only to find unsanitary living conditions that result in deadly epidemics. Sexual violence is rampant. There is a lack of access to medication.

Bleasdale’s hope is that his work in eastern Congo will bring awareness, engagement, and power through photography. Though he doesn’t expect anyone to stop buying electronic devices, he hopes that the photos he shares will encourage companies and consumers to be socially responsible, so that the people of Congo will no longer be exploited but can instead flourish on the country’s natural resources. A photo can, indeed make a difference.

“Maybe, one day, we can actually buy a smartphone or a computer or a camera or a television that is stamped ‘Conflict-Free’.'”

Go to full article: How Photography Can Make a Difference (Video)

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

Capturing Dynamic Sky Activity Using Timelapse Sequences

Posted: 21 Dec 2013 12:07 PM PST

If you enjoy photography that takes you on a vacation by just looking at it, you’re in for a treat! Photographer Andrew Walker spent the last year and a half photographing various sites in the western half of the United States to obtain these amazing shots. Walker says some of the spots were not easily accessed, but that makes the photos even more worthwhile. Enduring temperatures ranging from -9 to 100 degrees, Walker took over 15,000 still images to create this time lapse video:

Walker’s compilation of amazing photos features many breathtaking landscapes and integrates some man-made elements as you can see in this photo.

stone arch landscape

Time Lapse Photography Ideas

Considering shooting some photos to create your own time lapse? While landscapes are a wonderful choice, you can also create some gorgeous time lapse videos focusing on just about anything of interest. Here are a few examples to get your creative  juices flowing:

  • Flowers Blooming
  • Cycles of the Moon and Stars
  • Lunar Eclipse
  • Extended Snow or Rainfall
  • A Building Being Built
  • City Traffic


Time lapse photography is very time and labor intensive, but the results you can achieve are incredible!

For Further Training on Timelapse Photography:

There is a COMPLETE guide (146 pages) to shooting, processing and rendering time-lapses using a dslr camera. Currently 15% off for the holidays, simply remember to use the discount code LearnTL. Deal found here: The Timelapse Photography Guide

Go to full article: Capturing Dynamic Sky Activity Using Timelapse Sequences

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

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