3 Tips for Shooting with Twinkle Lights!

Making memories is a huge part to the holiday season! This is a time when family and friends put the stresses of life on the back burner and cherish time together. As photographers we LOVE light! Holiday decorations provide you with a source of light only found in the month of December. (Give or take a few weeks depending when you put up or take down your decorations!) As we’re quickly approaching Christmas, I want to share a few tips tricks shooting twinkle with lights

Before diving right into the photo ideas, here are a few tips to help get a great shot. First things first, turn off your flash! If you’re shooting in auto mode and the flash pops up, you’ll lose the ambient lighting the twinkle lights are creating. If you have a tripod handy, use it! To capture a crisp image it may mean you need to leave your shutter open longer and a tripod will eliminate camera shake. Every room is going to have different available light so saying one camera setting will work over another is tricky. I suggest starting at ISO 100, F 2.0, and at a 125 shutter speed.

Little Ones

Whether your little one is a baby or your fur baby, twinkle lights make for a fun photo! The curiosity of a child and or pup mixed with the soft lighting is a classic! Find a fun holiday themed outfit or a simple Santa hat, ball up the lights in front of your little one and capture their interaction with this new thing! Another cute idea is to create a wall of light by stringing twinkle lights on the crossbar you use for holding backdrops or even the bar your curtains hang on. It will create depth and a fun element when taking a portrait!

Quirk it Up

Grab a loved one, your Santa or elf hats and a string of lights and have fun! The best lights to use for these are the twinkle lights with larger multi color bulbs. Similar to what you may use on the outside of your home. Intertwine you and your loved one in a string or two of lights and show your playful side!


Red, green, and white holiday lights are classic but if you want a more ethereal look, grab a strand of white twinkle lights! These are so much fun to play with because they’re going to give you a more natural source of light but super soft. These can be draped around your subject, wrapped throughout the hair, or even used as a foreground element to create depth. To create a whimsical photo let you subject hold onto a strand and dance around but slow down your shutter speed a little! This is going to cause the lights to streak and show the movement!

If you haven’t quite gotten around to putting up your tree or the final touches on your decorations, this would be a great time to experiment with these tips and create memories with your loved ones! These 3 photo ideas using twinkle lights could be a great idea for your holiday cards! No need to stress and hire a photographer last minute, you can have your own photo shoot with your smartphone! (Tips here!!)I hope these tips tricks shooting twinkle with lights help your creative wheels to turn during this holiday season!   What are some of your favorite holiday memories?

For more in depth tutorials  check out my latest project, The Inspired Club!  Here I share more tips about how to use your camera and to better understand lighting!

Stay Inspired,,



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Jana Williams

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