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Tips & ideas > Holiday lights
Take better photos: Holiday lights
Capture the beauty of the holiday season with these simple tips.
Controlling blur
Holiday lights are challenging to shoot because the slightest movement causes blurred photos. For crisp shots, use a tripod to avoid camera shake. You can also place the camera on a stable object or lean against a tree or a wall as you hold your camera and use the self-timer.

On the other hand, blurry lights can create a beautiful abstract effect. To achieve that look, set the shutter speed manually, trying a range from 0.5 second up to 4.0 seconds.
Shooting indoors
For better indoor photos, whenever possible, turn off your flash and turn on lights in the room. Or shoot near a window and use the natural light. Natural light is ideal for photography because colors stay true and the lighting is soft.

The ISO number determines the camera's sensitivity to light. Low numbers like ISO 100 are often used for daylight and high numbers like ISO 1600 are used for low light indoors or at night. So, if you are indoors, manually increase the ISO to get better photos using the available light.
Indoor photo ideas
To capture the spirit of the holidays, here are a few ideas for creative photos. Spell out a message or your family's name in lights on the floor or a table. Take photos of family lighting candles or hanging lights. Reflections of lights or decorations in a window or mirror create dramatic photos.
Tips for shooting outdoors
When there's still some light in the sky, you can turn off your flash and take advantage of the beautiful natural light at twilight.

When it's dark-or even at twilight-a tripod is a necessity because long exposure times make it difficult to hold your camera steady.

For both twilight and nighttime photography, experiment with different shutter speeds until you get the exposure right.
Outdoor photo ideas
Try these techniques when photographing lights around your home, neighborhood, or downtown:

Reflections - capture the reflection of lights on the glistening street after a rainfall. Or use the Macro setting to catch a reflection in ornaments.

Windows - Take photos of indoor lights from outside. The cool tones of evening will contrast beautifully with the warmth of the scene inside.
Capturing Candles
When you're getting candles ready for the holidays in your home, trim the candlewicks to reduce the size of the flames. Smaller flames will make better photos and it's also safer. In addition to taking pictures of the candles themselves, be sure your holiday shots capture the glow that candles cast on objects, people, and pets.