How To Photograph Holiday Lights with the Smartphone

photographing holiday lights with the smartphone

 With the holiday season in full swing, it's the perfect time to talk about photographing Holiday lights. It’s a challenge for sure but here are a few tips to help you get the shots you want.

 1. Use a Tripod

First things first, let’s talk about stability. Night photography and low light conditions can turn a great shot into a blurry mess if your hands are even a little shaky. This is where a tripod comes to the rescue. Whether it’s a full-sized one or a compact, portable version, a tripod is your best friend for capturing those perfect, crisp images of Holiday lights. It’s a simple tool, but trust me, it makes a world of difference.

 2. Time your shoot

Your smartphone’s flash might seem like a good idea, but it’s really not when it comes to Holiday lights. Flash tends to flatten your images and can overpower the subtle glows of the lights.

 Instead, time your shoot. The best time of day to photograph holiday lights is at either dawn or dusk. The reason being, you want the light being emitted from the lights to be as near as equal to the amount of light being emitted from the surrounding environment.

 3. Manual Mode Mastery – Controlling Exposure

When photographing Christmas lights, set the exposure manually. Lowering your exposure can prevent those bright lights from turning into indistinct blobs. It's all about finding that sweet spot where the lights look vibrant but not overpowering. 

4. Try Using Night Mode – Embrace this advanced feature of your phone

Many newer smartphones come equipped night mode as an option. Night mode is specifically designed for low-light photography. It often involves longer exposure times, which is why pairing it with a tripod (tip #1) is a great idea. Night mode can bring out details you wouldn’t see otherwise and truly make your Christmas light photos pop.

 5. Angles and Perspectives – Get Creative

This is where your creativity really comes into play. Don’t just stick to the standard head-on shots. Try capturing the lights from below, above, or any quirky angle you can think of. Each perspective offers a unique view and can turn an ordinary setup into an extraordinary shot. Sometimes the best photo is one taken from where nobody else is looking.

 6. Simplify Your Frame

While it might be tempting to capture every light in sight, sometimes less is more. Choose a specific area or a group of lights and make that your focal point. This approach can lead to a more compelling composition. It directs the viewer’s attention and makes your photo stand out.

7. Edit Your Photos 

Use an editing app like Snapseed or the in camera editing tool to fine-tune your images. Adjust brightness, contrast, and saturation to enhance the lights. As beautiful as the lights might be, sometimes it takes a little adjusting to make the image as look as brilliant as it did when you photographed it.

Photographing Christmas lights with your smartphone is not just about preserving memories; it’s about capturing a feeling. With these tips, you’re well on your way to taking photos that not only look great but also evoke the warmth and joy of the holiday season.

Remember, photography is as much about experimentation as it is about following rules. So, go out there, play with these tips, and see what amazing holiday lights images you can create.

Want more holiday smartphone photography tips? Be sure to check out  How To Photograph Christmas Decor Using The Smartphone.

Happy shooting, and Happy Holidays! πŸŽ„πŸ“ΈπŸŒŸ