Christmas time has come and now it's the time to create great images using your creativity. All type of lenses can be used for these shots, your imagination is the only barrier. There are many ways and tutorials out there and I have selected my favorite ones and when done right the results will amaze you.
The first simple option which is largely used this period of time is a STAR-Filter. Be it a 6-star or an 8-star filter the results are amazing when combined with the twinkle lights of a Christmas tree. The lights take the shape of little stars with 6 or 8 points ans all you need to care about is your subject. These kind of filters are relatively cheap as you can see from an ebay search below and you have to consider your lens size before you buy one of these.
Examples of star-6 filters below:
|6-Stars everywhere. This is with a 70-300 lens + x3 Teleconverter. That's a lot of zoom!!!|
|Very long exposure with a 70-300 lens + x3 teleconverter resulting in 300x3x1.6=1.440mm total focal length in 35mm|
|This kind of photos is where the star-6 filter rules!|
Using a large aperture to create out of focus bokeh shots
There's another popular technique for creating stunning Christmas shots and it consists of using a large aperture lens for creating an out of focus background of abstract lights from a Christmas tree or other source. In this technique also you have to consider and focus on your main subject and use the decorated lights as a background. White balance is also a fact that should be considered as a bonus for creating the proper mood. A blue white balance will create a cold mood while a yellow white balance will create a cozy atmosphere, but don't overdo it. There are plenty of examples and there are even these photos that will take your imagination to a higher level, all you have to do is breathe some inspiration and plan your shots in a quiet afternoon.
You can make the little balls of light bigger by increasing the distance between your in focus subject and the out of focus lights in the background. It is also possible to create the little bokeh balls of light by putting the lights in the foreground of your image (in front of your subject). The impact is a little different as the bokeh balls will cover part of your subject.
Examples of large aperture Christmas photos below:
|Too much? This is really a test shot on street lights with dirty lens...|
|Controlled aperture with high ISO for stability.|
Creating a different shaped bokeh
Another popular technique is to create different shaped bokeh masks. You can make stars, hearts or even little snow flakes. The concept is very simple, you only have to cut out a mask and put it in front of your lens, so with the combination of out of focus elements you can create beautiful shapes. A technique best explained in video here.
There are several other techniques used for Christmas photography, you only have to search the internet for Christmas ideas by googling "Christmas photos" and examine the results. Sometimes there are good, simple meaningful shots with a clear subject that will also benefit by the previous techniques described here. But you will never know what works for you unless you grab your camera and start shooting some photos!