How to take pictures of the tree and Christmas lights worthy of posting

How many times have you tried to capture in a photo l’Christmas atmosphere made of flashing lights and LED colored without getting a satisfactory result?

And we want to talk about all those attempts to take a portrait of you in front of the Christmas tree that was worth sharing on social media?

Know manage and exploit light and shadow is one of the most important aspects when it comes to photography, all the more so when the illuminations sweep over trees, roads and laid boards.

In order to be able to give you a few more tricks to make it easier for you, we have taken a course of Today at Apple The collection of free programs at every Apple Retail Store worldwide, with sessions on photography, video, music, coding, art and design and more. (You can book them online:

iPhone 11 pro in hand (but previous versions are also good for many functions), here’s what we’ve learned on how to take pictures of Christmas lights

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1. Change the brightness (and focus)

Seems obvious, but not everyone loses those two seconds it takes to change the exposure before taking a picture . And instead it is more than fundamental when it comes to taking images in which c’is strong difference between illuminated areas (where there are illuminations) and those in the shadows (everything else, especially if you shoot at night).

Camera automatically focuses on l’image and adjusts l’exposure according to the subject being framed, and the n this way you start with a picture of perfect brightness. Learn how to manually manage the light But with iPhone it’s very simple and that’s what makes the difference between snap e create .

After opening the Camera app, simply frame the subject you want to take a picture of and tap the screen . A square with a yellow profile will appear, with an icon in the shape of the sun.

This is where the focus is focused. Simply slide the sun icon up or down to manually increase or decrease the brightness level of the shot.

To understand what the best subject on which to optimize the exposure tap on the different light sources or in the intermediate areas, you will see the photo change substantially and you can guess which one you prefer as a result.

For  keep focus and exposure constant on the lens you can also set the Lock AE/AF Press and hold on the iPhone screen at the exact spot you want to focus until “Lock” appears. AE/AF ”

2. Use l’HDR when needed 

The technology HDR is the one that allows the smartphone to take several photos simultaneously with different exposures and to add them up (all in an instant, without us having to do anything) to have,  in one picture, the best parts of three photos taken in rapid sequence with different exposure levels (one with normal exposure, one overexposed and one underexposed).

The result is a unique photo with ultra-defined details, perfect colors and lighting in all points of the image, including when you shoot against the light or with strong contrasts. 

Today, with the new iPhones, the Smart HDR new generation, thanks to machine learning, it adds up to 10 images instead of three photos, and in addition it recognizes people and processes them differently from the rest, so that faces have natural light spots, effect shadows and skin tones. 

Activate it (in Settings, Camera) or directly on the screen when the camera is in operation by clicking on the symbol HDR To keep the areas in shadow that you are photographing in the light, turn it off (in the same way) when you want to emphasize light and shadow. 

3. Night Mode

One of the most important new features for the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro’s photo division is the  Night Mode a function that guarantees excellent performance even in low light conditions. 

In low light conditions the Night mode yes  automatically activate A yellow icon appears at the top left indicating the number of seconds needed to take a suitable shot.

Clicking on that’icon, below appears a slider that allows you to deactivate it or increase the number of seconds …which is the opening of the shutter.

Use it if you want to collect as much light as possible, deactivate it if you, or the photographed subject, are in motion, because until the completion of the capture is You need to keep your smartphone immobile.

4. How to achieve special effects with l’long exposure

If you’ve wondered what could be fun uses of the photographs Live this is one for sure.

Activate the function Live  directly from the camera. It is the icon located in the top right corner, made by a couple of circles around a dot.

At that point taking the picture you will actually record a sort of mini video of the seconds around the shot.

Open l’image from image gallery and do Swipe Up (drag the photo up) and choose from various effects: Loop, Bounce or Long Exposure.

Loop  turns a Live Photo into a video loop. Bounce reproduces the Live Photo scene as it actually took place and then backwards.

Long exposure captures time and movement, and creates an effect that was previously only possible with a camera DSLR .

The d’fireworks turn into light trails that cross the sky, the headlights of a car passing coloured lines, people moving around a subject become trails of light and colour.

Pay attention only to one detail: before shooting, focus (as we said in point 1) on the subject you want to keep intact in the final image.

5. The photo together in front of the tree

Two functions to keep in mind: the first one is that the a front camera of iPhone 11 Pro when holding the phone vertically shoots at 7 megapixels and standard focal length. While if iPhone is placed horizontally it will shoot at 12 megapixels and with reduced focal pitch, therefore with a wider framing …great for putting more people or more landscape in the shot.

It is still possible, both vertically and horizontally, modify the focal length by increasing or reducing it touching the two converging arrows. 

The second is that you can take a picture together using the Timer : p position the device on a solid, framed surface, then touch the timer button.  e choose a countdown time of 3 or 10 seconds touch the shutter button, run to pose and smile.

© opening photo by Alysa Bajenaru and Jad Limcaco on Unsplash