Welcome and thanks for stopping by! Christina Conklin is a natural light portrait photographer specializing in newborns, children and families in the Cypress, TX area. Become a fan of FSP's Facebook Page and you will see your sneak peeks there too, as well as a few extras! It's easy to share your portraits with friends and family this way.

Christina is honored to be a volunteer photographer for The F.I.L.M. Project, gifting free family portraits to families battling cancer. Photobucket

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Photographing Kids in in Front of a Christmas Tree {Cypress, TX Children's Photographer}

Pin It

Hey there! Check out my updated post with way more details on how to achieve this look! It's right HERE!

If you have a camera that allows you to manually control your settings, you can get a shot like this, too!

christmas tree lights Photobucket

There are a variety of setting combinations that will produce similar results, but here's what I did:

Turned off all of the lights in the house except for the tree.

Set my aperture at f/1.4. (I looove to shoot wide open when I can.)

Set my ISO low, at 160. I wanted the shutter speed to have to compensate for the low light. (More on that in a minute.)

Metered for the tree, not the girls.

Because there was such little light in the room, and I wasn't allowing much more in with my low ISO, my shutter speed had to be slow. The slower it is, the more light the camera lets in. (That's when you get that long click when you press the button to take the picture instead of a quick, sharp click.) This is also what makes the lights on the tree look so pretty. Mine SS ended up being 1/15! Yes, that is crazy slow!

I also bribed my girls to stand very still for a minute. When you use a shutter speed (SS) that is that slow, movement will be blurry.

Finally, I took this image into Photoshop's Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) because I shoot RAW, and bumped up the exposure just a bit to make it brighter. Voila!!

child lights christmas tree Photobucket

So, here's the cheat sheet:

Dark room.
f-stop 1.4
ISO 160
SS 1/15

Try it. Play around with your settings a bit. Use a doll or large stuffed animal in front of the tree if

your kids won't be still. Have fun!!!


  1. I love this and would love to do it when we get our tree done. I have a Nikon D3000 and can't figure out the settings you used or where to find them besides the ISO, which 160 is not an option(100, 200, etc.). Any idea how to find these options? Thanks!

  2. I agree with Brittany. I also have a Nikon D3000.

  3. How fun that this post has popped back up! I love it!

    I have been a Canon user forever, and I know absolutely nothing about Nikon. :( I tried to do a little internet research on basic use of manual settings with Nikon so I could help y'all out better, but I'm coming up with nada. Boo! I'm sorry!

    However, y'all have inspired me to do a follow-up post to this one and try to have even more detailed instructions for those of you who may not be quite comfortable with using manual. I'll be back..... :)

  4. I've also tried with the D3000 and haven't gotten anywhere. I think I put the settings as described above, but for some reason it doesn't come out on the Nikon.

  5. Here's the follow up post! There are LOTS more details in there, so I hope it helps!! Feel free to share away! http://faithfulstepsphotography.blogspot.com/2012/12/how-to-take-picture-of-your-kids-in.html

  6. Sooooo I have to wait for my children to be old enough to bribe to stand still :P Thanks for the great tips!!!!

  7. Superb blog !!!
    Lovely kids picture , kids always so cute . Nice Christmas tree ..

  8. I love this I was really hoping to use this for our Christmas picture but I cannot get my aperture that low

  9. OMG!! I did this, not with my kiddies. I did it late at night but my lights were twinkling! Thank you so much!! Going to do this when the munchkins get up in the morning!

  10. Hi Anonymous, did you try just using the lowest ap you can go? Vickie, yay! How did it go with your munchkins?

  11. Beautiful shots ! this is really lovely Christmas tree ..

    Microstock photo website

  12. Tried this with my girls this Christmas. I'm new to photography, but mine turned out really nice!
    Thanks for the tips!