Sunday, December 10, 2006
Take a drive through most neighborhoods these nights and you are greeted with a winter wonderland of colors. I have already had a few assignments so far this month to photograph these holiday light displays. Some homes are lavish brightly lit scenes with computer-controlled lights such as this home on Loma Prieta Court.
The challenge in shooting holiday lights is trying to keep enough detail in the home and grounds so you don’t have pictures of just the lights floating in a sea of black. We try to take the pictures as close to dusk as we can when there is still some light in the sky to help fill in the shadow but you can still see the glow of the lights.
Another trick I do is to set my camera’s exposure meter to over expose the scene by about 2/3 to one full f-stop. That gives me some details in the shadow areas like the tree in this photo. If the lights go a little overexposed that’s ok because I think it adds to the effect. The only real danger I have is shooting at slow shutter speeds so be wary of camera shake. A tripod or monopod could come in handy to steady your shots. With a digital camera you can always take your look and increase your exposure to get the look you like.