Christmas Twinkle Light Pictures- A How To

I was a busy picture taking elf this weekend.

Oh yeah, I took that!

And this…

And this one…

And those aren’t even the ones that made the cut for the Christmas cards!

After one year of owning my fancy pants camera (Canon EOS Rebel T2i), I finally feel I have enough of a grasp on how it actually works to start getting creative.

I ordered Lightroom and the Clickin Moms Film Art Presets last week, and as soon as I get LR this week, I’m going to start teaching myself a thing or two about post processing.

Speaking of Clickin Moms, I’m a little obsessed with it lately. They have an iPhone app, so I just spend all the time I’m nursing Leyna browsing the forums. That’s where I got the idea for these pictures and figured out what I needed to do to set it up. It was so simple once I figured it out.

Here’s how I made them happen:

I took these with my 50mm 1.4 lens. My settings were 1.8-2.0F, 200 ISO, 1/160-1/200 SS (I think, I’m doing my best to remember all that, but that’s the general range for everything.) I used auto white balance, and that seemed to be fine.

The Setup: (Let us all laugh at how horrible this looks!)

I set this up on our bed since we have a wall of windows to the right, and then I opened the bathroom door on the left and let in the light from the window there, too. Luckily, I didn’t need a reflector of any sort. All I needed to set this up was 2 white sheets, a white fuzzy blanket (we already had all of that), and 2 strings of icicle lights (on WHITE cords!).

I took the curtains down to let all the light in, but wound up hanging a couple back up when the sun got low enough in the sky that it was causing dappled light on the bed. I hung a couple just so they would block the direct sunlight.

I taped a flat, white sheet to the wall behind the bed, then I taped the lights over the top of it. I wish I would have had more lights!

The fuzzy blanket is at the end of the bed, and the rest of the bed is covered in a white sheet.

Then I just positioned my subjects at the end of the bed, and I shot a few feet away from them. That gave me nice bokeh (fuzzy lights) in the background, and helped blur out most of the cords, though I still need to go in and blur out some of them.

Easy peasy! My focus is a smidge off on most of them, but that’s something I’m still working on mastering. They are good enough for Christmas cards, though.

From what I gathered from reading tutorials and the thread on Clickin Moms, the keys to making this happen is to keep your subject 4 or more feet away from the lights and getting your aperture as wide open as you can. I hope that helps spell it out a little bit. I’m by no means a pro at any of this, but I can try to answer questions you have, so let me know if you’re confused.