Christmas light pictures

edited December 2015 Posted in » Nikon D3300 Forum
This is my first DSLR camera that I received a month ago. I am very familiar with getting around the menus.
I have been on auto, auto no flash and Program mode, which was set by sales person at the camera shop.

I have a Nikon D3300 camera with a 18-55mm, 55-200mm & 35mm f/1.8g lens.

I would like to know if you have any suggested settings for picture shooting during the Christmas season.

I want to take a picture of family in front of a Christmas tree (natural light, with people not dark and tree lights beautiful).

Also, I will be going to a Christmas garden light display, which they have an indoor garden conservatory dressed up for Christmas and many outdoor trials of evening light displays.
Some pictures I'd like to get with my family in front of these displays (indoors and outdoors) without people being dark.
I can not use tripod in the evening as per Longwood Garden.

Here is a link to the Longwood Garden to give u an idea of some pictures I will be taking.

Thank you for taking time to share your knowledge of taking great pictures!


  • edited December 2015
    For flash, try using slow sync. That should help to light the people without losing the lights in the background. It will still be a challenge, but you might do all right.

    It's hard to know just what will work, but as a general rule, you probably want to open up your lens to the max, use a fairly high ISO, and when not using flash to light up people, exposure compensate in the minus direction for lights to avoid a moonlit appearance.

    Auto focus in dark conditions is iffy. Try to aim for a specific light, and use single point not auto area focus.

    If you can, try practicing on various modes at home in ambient indoor light. Try to figure out what shutter speeds you can get away with, and what ISO settings are satisfactory.

    If you're trying for people without flash, set the meter to spot, and spot meter on a face. Face will be metered, and all the rest of the frame ignored. If you use the 35mm lens fairly wide open, you should get a nice portrait with any bright lights in the background blurred.
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