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12-23-2008, 05:40 PM   #1
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 47
give me tip and tech on ambient light christmas picture

I want to make nice Christmas picture tomorrow night !
Any tips on how to acheive that !
I have 2-af360fgz annd 1-af540fgz... But I have never been able to make good night shot with minimal fill flash just to freeze the subject without affecting the general feel of the room it is either to bright and I loose all the night feel of the picture or to dark and we not not see the subject very good !
any help ! and you can post your picture for exemples !!

12-24-2008, 10:55 AM   #2
emalvick's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Davis, CA
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I can't say too much as the is the first year I've been really trying these shots myself.

What I do know is that you really don't want a flash if you can help it. If you need a faster shutter speed, you'll need to utilize a higher ISO setting or a wider open aperture.

I generally shoot without a flash and get pretty good results with my M50 f1.7 wide open or if I am using my Tamron 17-50 f2.8 wide open. In the cases where I've tried using flash (i.e. the odd family shot or portrait here and there) none of the Christmas Lights really ever stand out like they do without a flash.

I do tend to shoot my K10d in these situations at ISO 800. With the shake reduction I get good hand held shots down to 1/15 sec without sharpness issues and most of the time the ISO 800 keeps me at 1/60 - 1/30 of a second range, especially for highly decorated houses.

I also typically shoot in full manual and use the green button to get me close to what I want and then make slight adjustments if shots start coming in a little dark or bright (this works really well for my manual lens). I also like manual focus because generally I can set my shots at infinity or I can more easily focus on the exact object I want (I use a lot of closeups on individual light bulbs) without hunting or misfocus (with lots of lights the autofocus sometimes picks the wrong one).

Most importantly, have fun. I've been having a lot of fun shooting random shots of decorated and lit up houses and Christmas trees, especially more macro type shots and shallow depth of field type shots. Unfortunately, I haven't had a chance to process any of the RAW shots, yet, so I don't have any samples to show.
12-24-2008, 01:18 PM   #3
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Location: Highlands of Scotland.
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My top tip (s) would be a good tripod and use it together a remote or cable shutter release.

Your pictures will improve beyond belief, not just from the steadiness factor, but the use of the tripod will slow you down a bit and this will aid your compostion as you'll have time to really look through the viewfinder at what your taking.
12-25-2008, 10:02 AM   #4
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Join Date: Apr 2008
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Posts: 168
This is probably what you need, how to balance ambient light and flash.

Strobist: Lighting 101: Balancing Flash and Ambient, Pt 1

He's also got some xmas posts on the front page.

Hope it's not too late!


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