I’ve had a couple clients ask me how to take pictures of their christmas tree, do you use the flash? no flash? lights on in your house? lights off? daytime? nighttime? Can you do it with a Point and Shoot? Do you need an SLR? Well hopefully I can answer your questions
First I’m going to show you what I did with my point and shoot. I have a Canon S95 and I absolutely love it. its a great handy little P&S, very fast and is able to capture my quick boys fleeting smiles before the moment is missed. I highly recommend this camera to anyone hoping to have something faster but not interested in learning everything there is about a DSLR. Anyway on to the pictures.
No editing has been done to any of these. in fact I use the Eye-Fi card in my P&S so my images get directly uploaded to flickr for me. you can also set it to directly upload to facebook if you wanted, another great gift to put on your wish list!
Oh and one more note, I would highly recommend using a tripod for these pictures, however I know most people don’t have tripods so I didn’t use one, I just took a book and rested the camera on the book then held steady as I clicked the shutter.
This first one was taken completely on Auto, Flash Fired. Settings are: f/2.0 | 1/40 | ISO 400 With Flash
You can change it to not fire the flash even on auto, if you don’t know how here’s a great time to figure it out. Here is the same shot, just without the flash, see how much better it is? Settings: f/2 | 1/30 | ISO 640 —- see how since i turned the flash off, the ISO went up and the shutter speed (1/30) went down, i.e. slower? that’s because the camera had to compensate for the flash not firing and needing more light.
Pretty good eh? well what about shooting in Manual, can P&S do that? Well yes some of them can! In fact this is one reason I love my S95 so much. I’m a photography junkie and I shoot manual 100% with my DSLR so I wanted to be able to do that with my P&S cause you really can get more artistic with your pictures if you take control.
Anyway my settings are (if you care about that stuff): 1/13 | f/4.0 | ISO 800 | 6mm and NO flash —- so why did I pick those settings? Well I wanted my aperture (f/4) to be a little closed down more so that the lights look more like little starbursts, I had to increase the ISO more and slow down my shutter (1/13) even more to compensate for closing down the aperture (the opening of the lens), when you close down the opening of the lens (i.e. aperture) you need even more light to hit the sensor, the ISO (worker bees to get the light) and the shutter speed – slower allows more light in, do that! There are many books out there that explain this better than me. I am just trying to give you the quick overview here Try reading Understanding Exposure if you need more help!
So can you get artsy with a P&S well sure of course you can. For this picture I just played with my focus. I focused on the floor right in front of me then moved the camera to compose my picture. this is called focus / recompose and you can do that with DSLRs or P&S.
So what about my DLSR? Well I’ll gladly show you This first one is a fun artistic one, and would be great as a background for scrapbooking if you do that sort of thing These also have NOT been edited, except for saving for web to decrease the size of the files!
Taken with my Canon 5D 50mm 1.4 at f/1.8 | 1/160 | ISO 800 . In order to get the tree bokeh, I sat with my legs straight out in front of me on the ground, I focused on my feet then recomposed to just the tree.
The next one was also taken with the 50mm at f/1.8 | 1/60 | ISO 800. this is my oldest ’special’ ornament last year.
These next two were taken with my 100mm L IS Macro f/2.8 taken at f/2.8 | 1/30 | ISO 1600, and this one was Cullen’s special ornament from last year.
f/2.8 | 1/60 | ISO 1600