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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Shooting Christmas Tree Lights

This is an answer that I posted to a question on the [b] school.  Mine was only one of several responses to the original question.  If you aren't a member of the [b] school, you might want to check it out.

 Point your flash at the subject like NEVER:-)  Bounce the flash.  Better yet, diffuse the flash.  There many diffusers available, including simply putting  some tissue over the flash.  I use the Lightsphere.  It allows you to both diffuse and bounce the flash. --


Shoot as wide open as possible, while still keeping the depth of field that you need.  Others have said to drag the shutter -- that's to allow more of the ambient light (tree lights) to register.  You see, the shutter speed is not part of the exposure calculation in this shot.  Your flash is putting out a blast of 1/1,000 of a sec -- maybe much faster -- so that replaces the shutter speed in the exposure calculation, but keeps the shutter open to allow the tree lights to register.  I'd start at 1/30.


Gregory mentioned to turn Auto ISO off.  That's important.  Take a some shots at 400 and 800.


You will have to experiement, but I'd start something like this.  Camera on Manual, f 3.5 -5.6, shutter 1/30, ISO 400.  Flash on TTL.  Use a diffuser.


Finally, get the flash off the camera, if you can.


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