Many times when I teach photography, people will ask me what settings I used for my series of shots. I generally reply “it’s different for each one.” Many respond with “how do you know what setting is right?”
That’s easy. It depends on the light.
In fact every photo I take requires that I pre-plan what I do first. This means that I look at the light first and then work out what will work and what won’t. Does this take long to do? No, not really. What about the internal light meter? Isn’t it easy to simply work off that? Yes, of course it is. However, not all readings give you the exposure you want. This is why it is important to know your camera and how it produces images.
So what about Christmas lights? There are so many wonderfully exciting opportunities for shooting the prettiest photos of lovely coloured lights at this time of year. I have compiled a series of photos using the star filter, Tungsten white balance and a tripod with a shutter release cable.
I used a 6 pt star filter for the photos of the lights, Tungsten white balance, a pretty large f stop (around F3 and 4), and a slow shutter speed (around 40th of a second), and of course I used my trusty tripod.