Capturing Christmas Lights with Kaiju Pickles

Christmas is one of my favourite holidays and one of the things I love doing the most around this time of year is putting up all my Christmas Lights! Not only do they make me feel all cozy and warm inside but they are a great and inexpensive prop to make your holiday photos pop!

So this year I decided to have some fun before throwing all my lights up!
This is Kaiju, she’s a 2 and a half year old Bug (Boston Terrier/Pug) who looooves having her picture taken, well not really but she’ll stay and that’s all I can ask for! Using only some window light and the christmas lights surrounding her I set my aperture as wide as possible to blur out any detail in the lights and background and create the dreamlike effect.  I use Zuke’s Mini Naturals Roasted Chicken Recipe Dog treats to keep her engaged and making cute googley eyes at the camera. So here are some of my results! I hope you enjoy and you can even try this for your own holiday photos to make them a bit more fun!


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Kaiju “Stinky” Pickles, Nikon D800 + Sigma 50mm 1.4

If you’ve got some extra lights laying around you can try this yourself with a point and shoot or even a cellphone! To get the most out of the camera in your pocket set up your lights about a foot or two behind your subject and make sure to select where you want the camera to focus. Your lights should be nice and blurry as long a your subject is closer to you then they are to the lights/the background.

If you’re using an SLR but aren’t too familiar with the manual settings yet here’s a tip.

Set your camera to Aperture Priority, set it as low as possible, adjust your ISO sensitivity according to the shutter speed, I try not to hand hold anything below 1/60 so in this case I actually went up to ISO 2500.

I would recommend using a 50mm 1.8 lens, Nikon and Canon make very inexpensive versions for about $150-$250. But if you don’t have one in your arsenal you can still use the more common kit 18-55mm 3.5-5.6 lens and zoom in to 55. Even though your aperture will be set to 5.6 and it doesn’t seem that bright your background would be blurrier than at the wider focal length. So what are you waiting for, go give it a shot!

If you have any questions feel free to contact me at & stay tuned for more!

xo jo

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