In honor of the holiday season, Jay P. Morgan of The Slanted Lens decided it would be a wonderful idea to show the world how to photograph Christmas lights. Breaking down the task into an easy-to-follow process, this four-minute video will get you ready to go Christmas light hunting as December wears on.
What stands out in the video is Morgan’s helpful graph that explains why time-of-day is more important than most every other factor when you’re trying to capture the perfect shot of a Christmas-light covered house.
The lights will have the same exposure value as long as they’re on, he explains, but you need to use the natural light available to properly balance the Christmas lights and capture the house in the shot as well.
What you’re looking for is that sweet spot where the ambient light and Christmas light exposures match:
Graph aside, Morgan notes that, more often than not, dusk is the time of day to get the job done. From there, the video goes over a few other basic elements, such as using a tripod, not using flash, and shooting RAW so you have more latitude in post-production.
The last minute of the video is a product giveaway, so if you’d like to skip the commercial part of things, you can skedaddle around the 3:30 mark.