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How to shoot great Christmas tree photos without flash!

So, you have a brand new DSLR that you got for early Christmas right?

or maybe you have one laying around the house. Breaking it out for the holidays seems like a great choice. But wait! There are so many buttons to push. You don't have time to figure it out and you need to get the right shot of your kids. So just put it on AUTO right? WRONG!

I'll walk you through what I did to capture the little moments of us putting the tree together with NO FLASH!

First of all, before I get technical, I would definately recommend changing lenses. Most DSLR kits come with a "kit" lens. This is usually a 18-35 3.5 aperature lens, or something similar.

Honestly just sell that thing on ebay, you will pretty much NEVER use it again! (At least if you want photos that are clearer, sharper and more creamier backgrounds). I would pick up the following with the proceeds from selling your kit lens of ebay:

If you are a Nikon user, picking up a 50mm 1.8 or a 35mm 1.8 (both only around 100 dollars). It will look something like this:

If you are a canon shooter, then a 50mm 1.8 or something similar is what you need.

2. once you get your lens situated. then put your camera on "M" for manual. Yes manual, scary right?

learn to adjust your other camera settings youself. Google your camera model and type in "how to change your shutter speed" On my nikon d750, it's just a turn of the dial on the top right.

3. I take my shutter speed down to 80 or so. Don't do too much, because you'll risk having too much blur,or even use a steady surface, like a tripod or a table.

The shutter speed is how fast or slow your camera "blinks" or captures light. It is measured in a fraction of a second.

4. Now you are ready to adjust your aperature. This is what makes your pictures have a really creamy background. The aperauture is adjusting how big your lens opens. Just like your pupil in your eye adjusting to dark or light situations and it opens and closes to let more light in or out.

adjust your aperature by googling your model and taking it down the lowest number you possibly can. On the lenses I told you about, then you can take it all the way to 1.8.

5. last thing to adjust is your ISO. This is basically how well your camera's "see" in the dark. Obviously if you have a camera the price of a small car, then your camera will be really sensitive to low-light situations and be able to capture some incredibly sharp photos even in a very dark room (which is why wedding photographer cameras and lenses cost SOOOO much, I should know!)

Anyways, adjust your ISO by googling it to 1000 (try not to go above that, unless you are really brave! Your photos will start to get a little vintage "grain" to them to more to go up!

6. once you have your settings, you are ready to start shooting!

Capturing the little details on the tree is the easiest thing to do if you know what you are doing.

try to find a special ornament that means alot to you to practice shooting with no flash.

Once you get comfortable shooting (All of these photos were edited and brightened a little bit, by the way). be creative with your angles and the story that you are trying to tell.

Don't be afraid to bend down, get close and see things in a different way!

Have fun shooting!

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