Shooting Christmas lights seemed like it was going to be so much fun for myself and my little cousins but it ended up being harder than I thought. This took about three shoots to get some good shots. The first time I just decided to test my settings to see what I wanted to use the next time I was babysitting them which was the weekend after the first shot. I hung a black bed sheet on the wall and turned out all the lights. It was already night time at this point so there was no light coming in through the windows. I had my cousin sit in front of the sheet and I wrapped her up in lights and just started playing with the settings to see what would work out best for me. I ended up having my ISO at 100 my F-stop at 16 and my shutter speed at 2″5 and set the camera to manual focus. The pictures looked good after playing with it for a while so I thought I was already set for the following weekend.
Now I have both of the kids and they were dressed in red pajamas so I thought okay, this is going to be a good shoot. BUT, kids don’t like to sit still very much so this took a while. I’m sure you can hear in your head, “These lights are hot!”, “Are we done yet”, “Can I go watch TV again?” It took me quite some time to get shots where they had sat still and they looked fine on the camera but when I put them on the computer they had blurs. In one picture where I finally got one kid to sit still the other had moved. This was frustrating but not as frustrating as how the pictures turned out. I realized that for this photo shoot I had too many lights on in the house. The Christmas tree lights were on as well as a small light I had used to light up their faces. The pictures had turned out orange/yellow. I tried editing it on Photoshop but nothing was working. I then realized I had never set my white balance so I went back for a third photo shoot.
This photo shoot turned out much better. It was daytime outside and the Christmas tree lights were on but I made sure to set my white balance. I took some shots and the kids were still squirmy so I said something to get them to sit still. “If y’all don’t sit still I’m going to fail my class.” The kids then got shocked and asked if I was going to get kicked out of school so I mean if that’s what it takes to get them to sit still then I guess I could say yes, so I did. They suddenly remembered how to sit still! It was a miracle! So I took some test shots to make sure everything looked good and their faces looked dark so I went to find a light. I ended up using a college desk lamp. I held this out in front of the camera and pointed it at their faces (no I didn’t blind them) This helped some and I knew that a little dodging on Photoshop would take care of the rest. Gillian did great with sitting still but I can’t say the same for little Harrison. When I took the pictures of the two of them together I had him rest his head on her shoulder so his face wouldn’t move around and come out blurry. And when it came time for his single shots I had a bit of a problem. It took time for me to understand that hey, a 7 year old doesn’t want to pose so I ended up telling him “Hey! Make funny faces! But keep very still until you hear the second click on the camera (the release). He had fun with this and so did I because he was very goofy and the pictures actually worked. In the end this is what I received from them that was actually worth keeping. I will try this project again some time because I’m curious about different settings that might make for better shots. Hope you enjoy them! Happy Holidays!!