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Christmas Tree Photography

by Allie on December 6, 2011 · 43 comments

in Fun Stuff,Photography

Our Christmas Tree!



It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! #notmyhouse


The parents of the kiddos told me about this spectacle! I didn’t have my wide angle lens with me, so I photographed the house in sections and pieced it together. Not very professional looking, but I made it work.

It was like standing in the middle of Times Square. The photo doesn’t do it justice. There’s a life-size nativity scene that’s being blocked by the trees…to the right of Santa and his reindeer.

I may have to go back with my tripod one of these nights. That wouldn’t be awkward at all. Nope.


…and we were extremely proud of the string of lights on our front porch :)

We also have lights on a tree that have been there since last year. We never bothered to take them down. We haven’t even tested to see if they still work or not.


Last year, I told you all about the convincing it takes each year to get a Christmas tree around here. This year, however, all it took was so when are we going to Costco to get our Christmas tree?

[Notice I inserted a "When" and didn't just ask "Are we going to…" This psych major knows all about phrasing techniques :) . The keyword "Costco" helped too.]

Anyways, that didn’t actually make a difference. There was no doubt we’d get a tree this year because we went out and bought ornaments and lights on clearance the day after Christmas last year. They’ve been waiting patiently in storage all year!


My favorite ornament of all…


Runner up…


Honorable mentions…

IMG_6324.jpg IMG_6327.jpgIMG_6318.jpg

Though the ornaments are gorgeous, I still miss our special/meaningful ornaments from way back when. Like the ones I made with popsicle sticks in kindergarten. Sadly, I think they are in a landfill somewhere because we cannot find them anywhere!

It happens when you move 3 times in 5 years.

At least we still have our old [mis-matched] stockings…?


I’ve been filling up my Christmas board on Pinterest this week!

Even though I know I’ll never get around to trying 99% of the crafts/outfits/ideas I find on Pinterest, I love browsing through them. They get my brain thinking more creatively. That’s what I like to tell myself, at least.

I kid you not, I dreamt about these Santa Hat Brownies last night.


Occasionally while browsing, I stumble upon photography sites with great tips. Like how to photograph your Christmas tree so the lights twinkle!


Christmas Tree Photography

What you’ll need:

  • A tripod or flat surface (preferably a tripod)
  • DSLR camera (I didn’t try this with my point + shoot, but my guess is it wouldn’t work…?)

1. Turn off all the lights except for those on the Christmas tree.

2. Put your camera on Av mode. No flash, of course.

3. Set your aperture to the highest f stop to close up the aperture (I tried f/20 and f/32).

4. Set your ISO relatively low (I used ISO 400).

This will make the shutter speed very very long. My shutter speed ranged from 8-25 seconds! See why you need a tripod?

5. If you can, use the 2 second self-timer, so you don’t shake the camera when you press the shutter.

6. Press the shutter and stand very still!! Hold your breath if you can :) .


We don’t have nearly enough lights on our tree, so it didn’t come out as twinkly as I had hoped. I’ll have to put up more lights and try it again.


Twinkle twinkle!

To celebrate Country Music Tuesday, I’ll leave you with my favorite country Christmas song of all time…

Where Are You Christmas — Faith Hill

I’ll be back with all of my favorite country Christmas tunes next week!


Tell me…how do you decorate your house for the holidays? Wreaths? Garlands? Reindeer in your front yard?

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{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Heather @ Side of Sneakers December 6, 2011 at 11:26 am

It’s beautiful!!! We haven’t gotten around to decorating yet…just the thought of it is wearing me out. ;)


2 Lena @Fit on the Rocks December 6, 2011 at 11:32 am

I’m loving all of the tree pictures and the house picture, too. I don’t have a cool DSLR, so I’ll just admire your photos :)


3 Amy December 6, 2011 at 11:40 am

What a gorgeous tree!!!! Tis the season :)

Have a great day Allie!


4 Bethany@Bethany's Befuddle Brain December 6, 2011 at 11:43 am

That’s one gorgeous Christmas tree! I promised my mom I would decorate the tree this year and I still haven’t yet. I’m thinking tomorrow will be the day I do it since it’s supposed to be rainy and gross.


5 Lauren @ What Lauren Likes December 6, 2011 at 11:44 am

Love the tree! Those Santa hat brownies are so cute! :D


6 Katie @ Healthy Heddleston December 6, 2011 at 11:55 am

Loveee the Christmas tree photos — gorgeous!


7 Khushboo December 6, 2011 at 11:56 am

Love those santa hat brownies- so cute and looks relatively easy!


8 Lauren December 6, 2011 at 12:07 pm

I am loving the tree and the tips along with it. I need to try this. I attempted a pathetic shot with my point n’ shoot and it was awful. No wonder!

PS- Those santa hats are so freaking cute!


9 Libby December 6, 2011 at 12:11 pm

Love the tree! We put ours up Sunday. I sort of wish it could be there all year. I was a psych major too, btw. I don’t use it in my job, but it’s great for everyday life (and working with kids)!


10 HRCK December 6, 2011 at 12:27 pm

Your tree looks fabulous! Sad about the ornaments getting lost in the moving shuffle :(

I saw those Santa Hat brownies on Foodgawker yesterday– I’m planning to make them for a Christmas party tomorrow!


11 Meg @ My Chocolate Covered Life December 6, 2011 at 12:52 pm

I love the piece meal picture you took of that house – I like it even better than had you used a wide angle lens. Really great pictures, Allie! I appreciate your photography tips because I am still getting to know my SLR camera, and when you break it down into easy steps with simple explanations, the manual I’ve been trudging through suddenly makes sense.


12 Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie December 6, 2011 at 1:05 pm

I LOVE Where Are You Christmas! Such a cute song! And your tree is gorgeous. I love the sparkles!


13 Julie H. of Spinach and Sprinkles December 6, 2011 at 1:35 pm

Oh golly gee is that tree beautiful! :) …..I love your stockings. So sweet! <3
THAT house! Holy cow! Whadda house!


14 Mary @ Bites and Bliss December 6, 2011 at 2:41 pm

It’s beautiful! I love the outside, too. We never decorate like that although I’d imagine Mike and I will when we get our own home. He loves decorating!


15 Stacy @ Say It With Sprinkles December 6, 2011 at 3:13 pm

Such a cool twinkly light technique! I’ll have to try once my family finally gets it into gear and goes out to get a tree =)
Also, “Where are you, Christmas” is one of my all-time faves as well!


16 Gina @ Running to the Kitchen December 6, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Gorgeous! Love the photography pics, I’ll have to try that out this year but without a tripod it could get tricky! We haven’t decorated yet since we’ve been on vacation for the past 6 days so it’s going to be a decorating mess when we get home to make up for lost time and get the most out of the next 19 days!


17 Kaila @healthyhelperblog! December 6, 2011 at 4:29 pm

Those brownies are the cutest things I’ve ever seen!!!!!!!!!!! Pretty tree pics too!!


18 sarah (sarah learns) December 6, 2011 at 5:00 pm

oh i love the christmas tree photography tips! i JUST got a dslr (last night) from my husband and i have been studying all night/day to learn how to use it well! i’ve been playing around with the settings a lot to get the feel for it & i can’t wait to try this tonight!


19 Casey @ Pocket Full of Sunshine December 6, 2011 at 5:38 pm

Thanks for the tutorial, Allie! I’m gonna try this tonight. :)


20 Emily December 6, 2011 at 6:25 pm

hi allie! i am a brand new follower of your blog, and i LOVE it so far! your christmas tree is absolutely breathtaking! and i cant wait to apply your christmas tree photo-taking tips when i go home for winter break :]


21 Julia H. @ The Petite Spiel December 6, 2011 at 6:50 pm

Ahaha, as a fellow psych major, I’ve totally pulled that one before :P

BEAUTIFUL TREE, btw. Really. It’s gorgeous. And thank you for the tree photography tips! I look forward to using those this year :)


22 Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin December 6, 2011 at 7:57 pm

Gorgeous tree! I love the ribbon wrapped around it – it looks so elegant!

This makes me so excited to go home and decorate the tree with my family… I just have 3 exams to get through first. Ugh! :P


23 Matt @ The Athlete's Plate December 6, 2011 at 8:37 pm

I’m thinking about getting a little tree for my apartment :)


24 Lindsay @ biking before bed December 6, 2011 at 9:35 pm

Where are you Christmas is my favorite song! I am slightly embarrassed about how many times I have listened to it on repeat:) so sad you can’t find your homemade ornaments. I hope you have pictures of them.


25 Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn December 6, 2011 at 10:51 pm

I’m a fan. I freaking love Christmas.


26 Laura December 6, 2011 at 10:53 pm

oh, great tips – i’ll use this post


27 Casi December 6, 2011 at 11:39 pm

Gorgeous pictures! SO jealous, I cannot wait to decorate. This made me happy :)


28 The Mrs @ Success Along the Weigh December 6, 2011 at 11:45 pm

What a beautiful tree! I LOVE the way the pics turned out!


29 Wendy December 7, 2011 at 1:19 am

Absolutely beautiful capture of your tree! Took my breath away! We only do the tree at our place, not much more! Some scented candles and that’s about it! We’ve been lazy this year, though, the tree has not gone up yet!


30 Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers December 7, 2011 at 8:05 am

What a beautiful tree! I just love this time of year. Allie your camera takes such beautiful photos, what kind is it? I need a new camera and I’m going to ask for one for Christmas. My pictures always turn out dull and boring! But maybe it’s just me?


31 Rebecca @ Naturally Healthy and Gorgeous December 7, 2011 at 9:43 am

Those santa brownies are so cute! I love festive looking food this time of year!


32 Lauren @ Oatmeal after Spinning December 7, 2011 at 9:56 am

What a gorgeous tree- and great photography tips! That’s pretty much exactly what I did. :)


33 Kate December 7, 2011 at 10:06 am

Thank you for sharing the “how to” of Christmas tree photos! I’ve been trying to get some good shots of my tree and had a terrible time getting them to come out like I want. I’ll definitely give this a shot and keep trying!


34 Hannah @ eat, drink and save money December 7, 2011 at 11:03 am

Your tree is beautiful. I was feeling so bad about mine because it is filled with mismatched homemade ornaments and random collections (I was really into barbies for a while). I was glad to hear that you actually missed your mismatched ones! I always think of not using them, but you made me realize how important they are.

Also, love the photography tips, I will try it later.


35 chelcie @ chelcie's food files December 7, 2011 at 11:16 am

your pictures look awesome!


36 Alexia @ NamasteYoga December 7, 2011 at 11:18 am

americans must be the number 1 in xmas decoration. In austria we usually just decorate the tree. my family uses lots of ornaments (my favourite is red and gold) and real candles).. o h and lots of yummy european chocolate on every branch of the tree! cant wait to get a tree!

i love your photos!


37 Robert Marquette December 7, 2011 at 12:14 pm

Hi Allie! What a wonderful Christmas you are going to have! and I am glad to share it with you on your blog! Robert :-)


38 Annette @EnjoyYOURHealthyLife December 7, 2011 at 4:48 pm

whoa pretty!!!


39 Emily G. @ from my messy desk December 7, 2011 at 5:12 pm

Your tree is beautiful! I still need to put mine up. I wasn’t going to but the boy insisted. I bought a $14.88 4-foot, pre-lit tree from big lots, two $4 sets of ornaments (32/package), and a $2 bow to go on top! We’ll see how it turns out! lol


40 Amanda @ Semi-Health Nut December 7, 2011 at 5:44 pm

I asked for a DSLR camera for Christmas and I am over-the-moon excited for it! Your tree looks beautiful and I think the twinkly lights turned out great!

I put up our tree surprisingly early this year and I only have 4 or 5 special ornaments…but I am planning on hunting more down this year after Christmas!


41 Krista December 8, 2011 at 1:26 pm

Beautiful photos, Allie!


42 Shannon from Healthiful Balance December 11, 2011 at 12:03 pm

That is such a pretty Christmas tree! Thanks for all the great tips :)


43 Jill December 16, 2011 at 4:52 pm

Pretty! Great tutorial. Totally bookmarking since my new tripod is currently wrapped up UNDER our tree. :)


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