Tips for taking Christmas Lights pictures with your Mobile Phone

Springfield Lakes residents Ava Smith, 10, Keira Westwood, 10, Scarlett Smith, 8.

*All pictures used in this article were taken by an iPhone at Diana Street, Springfield Lakes in the past week.

Most of us are too busy trying to keep our children from running on the road, or running into the decorations, so carrying a high quality camera and taking 5 minutes to compose the perfect shot with a tripod is not going to happen.

Never mind, I have put together some tips to help you get a half decent shot of the Christmas lights and kids with your mobile phone camera. They might not be award winning but they will definitely be a winner on your Facebook feed.

NOT like this

Like this

Put the people in the bottom of the photo.

If you are taking a group photo resist the urge to place them in the middle of the photo as you end up cutting out most of the lights and getting a lot of grass in there. Instead, point your phone down, putting the people in the bottom of the picture and leave room for the lights above their heads.

I noticed the reflection which made the picture more interesting.
By using the tree, it distracts from the car parked out the front of the house blocking the lights.

Take the picture at dusk.

For about 10 magic minutes after the sun goes down, the atmospheric light is the perfect amount for Christmas lights pictures. It is dark enough that the lights will stand out but light enough that you can still make our the roof and other structures. Also the lights will be colourful and the phone will find it easier to focus. Once its pitch black, the lights can look like they are floating in the air.

Taken with no flash, held steady. The lights from the tree were bright enough to light Charlie Richter’s face.
Taken with flash, but the lights from a passing car helped light the background.

You can always delete the bad ones later.

Because you can’t do a long exposure on a phone, you won’t be able to capture the full cycle of flashing lights. Take lots of pictures quickly of the one scene so you can decide later which one looks the best. Also hold your phone as steady as possible when you hit the button to reduce blur.

NOT like this. Lit by Flash.
NOT like this. Not lit at all. Lights look good but people too dark.
Like this. A torch was used to light the girls.
Don’t use your flash (unless you have to).

If you have someone who can hold it for you, then a torch is the best way to light people in the foreground of a Christmas Lights photo. As the people are already lit, your phone won’t have a hard time focusing on them. Also, using flash will probably be too strong and if the people are not close enough it will not work properly. To focus on something, just tap the screen to focus and expose for that spot.

(Right) Flash can be fun if you want some movement in the picture. If you hold your phone in front of you, locking your arms and keeping it still, then swing from side to side, your flash will freeze your head, but the lights will leave a trail.

Trying to fit too much in – by getting both houses in, you lose the detail from the house on the right.

Get closer.

The best photo of the house is not necessarily having every single light bulb in it. Pick an area on the house that looks busy and just shoot that bit. Same goes for people. Bring them further away from the house and stand close to them, also asking them to squeeze together as close as possible.

We hope that helps. Now put it into practice.

Head here to check out the entrant list for houses around Ipswich this year.

You can vote here in the People’s Choice Award until December 10.

The winners will be announced on December 16.

Don’t miss the Ipswich Christmas Lights tours. They depart the Ipswich City Council car park, 45 Roderick Street, Ipswich at 7pm on the 12, 13 and 14 December. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for Concession and Children. Places are limited and booking is essential.

You can book your tickets here by visiting Discover Ipswich Christmas Light Tours or telephone 07 3281 0555.

Tours include commentary from a friendly guide, a lucky seat prize and a light supper.

Light up your inbox all year around


Back to top button