Christmas Tree Photo Tips and White Balance!

Today I’d like to share some Christmas tree photo tips and white balance pointers.

We all want those adorable photos of the kids in front of the Christmas tree.Β  White balance can make or break the shot!

Anyone want a great shot of the tree? Check ou these Christmas Tree Photo Tips and White Balance by Me Ra Koh

When Brian and I first got married, I was busy with full time graduate school getting my Masters in Teaching. Brian was working overtime every week while getting paid $12 an hour. Needless to say, we loved it when our parents sent us Safeway dollars. πŸ™‚

Those first few year of marriage and Christmas are some of my favorite memories. We didn’t have any money so we had our own Charlie Brown Christmas tree. Since we couldn’t afford to buy ornaments, we found seashells and starfish and glued little beads to them. These little ornaments are still my most prized.

You must read this post for Christmas tree photo tips from Me Ra Koh, The Photo Mom

As I was taking photos of the Christmas tree and playing with White Balance, I got inspired to share with all of YOU!Β  White balance can give you the biggest headache if you don’t understand how to use it to your benefit.

The first of my Christmas tree photo tips is to remove the saturation. I think the tree lights make the lighting look overkill and to yellowy in the photos. When I put the images on my computer and started looking through them, I decided to move the saturation scale down so the Christmas lights wouldn’t be so overpowering. Check it out below!

Before shot: full saturation.

You must read this post for Christmas tree photo tips from Me Ra Koh, The Photo Mom

After shot: saturation removed a little for a cleaner white.

You must read this post for Christmas tree photo tips from Me Ra Koh, The Photo Mom

One more example…

Before shot: full saturation. (Pascaline’s favorite ornament–Sleeping Beauty of course. :))

You must read this post for Christmas tree photo tips from Me Ra Koh, The Photo Mom

After shot: saturation removed a little for a cleaner white.

You must read this post for Christmas tree photo tips from Me Ra Koh, The Photo Mom

The photo of the Christmas tree is SUPER frustrating for everyone I think, unless…you’re French, live in France, and have your decorated tree in a pot on the front porch. Then you have fabulous natural light. But if your tree is in your home, like my tree, and surrounded with a mixture of lamp lighting and window light in the evening, ugh. Go easy on yourself friends, this is not an easy shot for anyone!

I played a little with white balance to see if that would help.

What is White Balance?

In plain English, White Balance is simply changing the color of white. You can change your white balance so the white is more blue toned…yuck. πŸ™‚

You must read this post for Christmas tree photo tips from Me Ra Koh, The Photo Mom

Try changing your white balance to fluorescent. This changed my white tone to be a little more on the pink side.

You must read this post for Christmas tree photo tips from Me Ra Koh, The Photo Mom

Or you can leave it on AWB which is Automatic White Balance. This tends to be on the colder side if you’re shooting Canon and on the warmer side if you shoot Nikon.

You must read this post for Christmas tree photo tips from Me Ra Koh, The Photo Mom

You can use the Cloudy white balance, the little icon of the cloud which will add more yellow to your white…better. But even with this one, I took a hint of the yellow out because Cloudy White Balancing can overall be too yellow for my taste, but a little felt good.

You must read this post for Christmas tree photo tips from Me Ra Koh, The Photo Mom

Seriously, don’t stress about White Balance. Brian and I shoot in AWB most the time and don’t even bother with it. Unless it’s a cold, winter day and we want a little more warmth to the photos, then we may try switching the Shade or Cloudy White balance.

People can make white balance out to be this HUGE deal, but like I explain in Beyond the Green Box,Β women have been working with white balance since the first time they wore make up and left the house. You knew when you walked into direct sunlight if the “white” color in your bathroom lights were loyal or betrayed you. πŸ™‚ Remember being caught with cover up lines along your jaw…oh the pain of junior high!

White balance is a great thing to play with. Every camera has different icons for the Automatic White Balance Setting, the Cloudy, the Shade, the Fluorescent, etc. Browse through your manual and play around with it.

But feel safe in the comments to post ANY questions. You can totally get this whole White Balance thing!

On a fun side note, another of my Christmas tree photo tips is . . . don’t miss the shots that are not as obvious as shooting the tree straight on. One of my favorite view points of our tree is actually on the opposite wall in the mirror’s reflection. Cozy…

You must read this post for Christmas tree photo tips from Me Ra Koh, The Photo Mom

And we can’t forget Blazey’s favorite ornament!!!

You must read this post for Christmas tree photo tips from Me Ra Koh, The Photo Mom

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Recipe for the Christmas Tree Photos

Aperture was all the way up to a F16 because I wanted lots of detail.

ISO was down to 100 for best color saturation.

The Shutter Speed is the trick. With a high f-stop/aperture and low ISO, I need the shutter to stay open for a long time. These were all shot with the shutter open for 13 seconds. You can either use a tripod or set your camera on a stable surface and then let the shutter stay open as long as it needs to for enough light to record.

Recipe for the Ornament Photos

Aperture was down to a 1.2. This means it was WIDE open, lots of blur and enough light coming in for me to hand hold it.

ISO was 400.

Shutter Speed was at a 60th (1/60) of a second. (Remember, when you go below a 1/60 of a second in shutter speed (1/40, 1/20, 2 seconds, etc), you need a tripod or stable surface for your camera so the image doesn’t record camera shake from your hand. But with practice you should be okay at 1/60.

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WANT MORE Christmas Tree Photo Tips?

More tips, 7 MORE TIPS to be exact! When I thought of this blog topic, I asked my friend Carey to play with it too. She ended up sending me 7 fabulous tips for taking photos of Christmas tree ornaments. Love them all! Check them out here!

Share your Christmas tree photos on my facebook page, I’d love to see how you’ve mastered White Balance this season and I’d love to give you feedback!

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