How to take a great picture on Christmas morning / by Rose Jesky

You don’t have to be a pro photographer to get a picture like this.  You just need a DSLR camera and like to take pictures of your babies.


Here are three picture I took of my Christmas tree and kids back in 2012.

The tree doesn't have a million lights on it. Even though I would decorate like Clark Griswold if my husband would let me.

There only 700 lights on my tree.  Want to know how I got my photo to look like that?

Turn off your flash, along with all the other lights in your house, crank up your ISO, and use your tripod, if you don’t have one set your camera on something like an end table . You don’t want to hold it by hand for this.

Turn your camera on Manual mode, set your ISO at 3200 (or set yours as high as it will go) also set the aperture to 4.0 or wider if your lens allows. Then set up your tripod or prop your camera up on a table if you don’t have a tripod.  Then focus the camera on the tree, or your kids of they are the subject of the pic, and then cranked your shutter speed down to 1/30th. For those of you scratching your head and wondering “shutter speed??” "aperture??" here are 2 links to explain exposure and what your settings are.

Even though the camera will tell you the pics would be way overblown snap them anyway. Try not to bump the camera when you press the shutter.  Also have your kids stand as still as possible. Then take a few pictures and check out how the picture looks in the preview. You may have to decrease the shutter speed if you want more glow out the lights.

These are the camera settings from my camera


  • Canon EOS REBEL T2i

    Lens EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS

  • ƒ/4.0
  • 21.0 mm
  • ss 1/6
  • iso 3200
  • Flash (off, did not fire)