photography

How to Take Christmas Photos- Bokeh Tutorial

I love Christmas lights- they’re so pretty! And I also love taking photos with Christmas lights in the background when it creates beautiful bokeh (the circles that form behind the subject).

Here are some tips of how to take photos with gorgeous bokeh using Christmas lights!

1. Use a small aperture– to get really nice bokeh, order you need a lens with an aperture (or f stop) that can go down to 1.8 or 2. For these photos I was using my Canon 50mm 1.4 lens. The aperture of your lens is how big the opening is to let in light- so when you have a low aperture like 1.8, patient the opening is really large and lets in a lot of light, stomach and your background gets blurry. Because your aperture is letting in a lot of light, your shutter speed will have to be higher to compensate.

bokeh web12. Put your subject several feet away from the lights. For these photos I used our Christmas tree and my dog was a good 8ish feet away from the tree. Varying the distance between your subject and the lights will give you different looks- the closer you are to the lights the smaller they will be. If you get really close, they will just look like lights, not circles. The farther away you are, the bigger the circles, but if you get too far away, all the circles will start blurring together.

bokeh web43. Put your camera close to the subject– My dog was far away from the tree, but I was close to him. That made the frame tighter and made for better bokeh.

bokeh web34. Adjust your ISO– My ISO was at 400 for these photos- that’s in the middle as far as ISO goes. ISO is how sensitive to light your camera is- if your ISO is low (100 or 200) your camera is not as sensitive to light meaning that your aperture and shutter speed have to be lower to let in enough light. Low ISO is good for when you’re shooting in bright light and gives you the highest quality photos. Middle ISO from 400-800 will make your camera more sensitive to light which is good for when you’re shooting in a well-let room inside. ISO in this range will allow your camera to take in more light and won’t take down the quality of your photos too much. High ISO (800+ depending on your camera) will allow you to shoot in low-light situations, but will also produce granier photos. I always try to shoot at as low an ISO as possible so my photos will be of better quality. Your ISO in these photos is going to depend on how dark your environment is- my living room has windows so it was letting in quite a bit of light.

bokeh web25. Have fun and don’t hesitate to ask me questions in the comment section! I know Christmas is over, but keep your lights up and experiment with some bokeh holiday photos :)

And for those of you who are curious, my settings for these photos were: ISO– 400, Shutter Speed– 1/100, Aperture– f/1.8

Gooey Peanut Butter Reese’s Bars

Last week at school we had a “senior shadow day” where we were supposed to spend the day learning from someone who works in a profession in which we are interested. I contacted Jen and Chris Creed, advice two wonderful and kind photographers who I have been lucky enough to get to know the past couple of months. I have to admit I was nervous about asking if I could shadow them because I didn’t want to be annoying, visit but they were so kind and enthusiastic about it. They asked me what I wanted to get out of the experience, what I wanted to improve on, and got a couple for us to shoot in Downtown Franklin. The photo session was so fun! I’m posting a couple of my favorites from the session (you can see the full session on my photography website).

I loved watching Jen and Chris shoot. They really try to push their creativity and some of my favorite shots are things I never would have taken on my own. Absolutely check out their photography! They are amazing people and super talented :)

I knew I wanted to make something for Jen and Chris as a thank you for allowing me to spend the day with them. After checking that they both like peanut butter (which they probably thought was a little strange ;) I made these Gooey Peanut Butter Reese’s Bars. Oh my goodness. These were incredible!

I had asked my dad to get the ingredients for the bars while he was at the store, and he accidentally got fat-free sweetened condensed milk! I was afraid the bars wouldn’t taste good or bake as well with the fat-free version, but I asked Jenny from Picky Palate on Twitter what she thought and she said it would be fine. And it was! So you shouldn’t feel guilty about eating these…they’re practically a health food ;)

Jen and Chris loved these, as did my family. The next day I brought in leftovers to school and my teachers and classmates loved them as well. Success all around! I will have to say that you do want to eat these at room temperature…I usually like things when they’re all warm and melty but definitely preferred these after they had cooled down the next day.

Gooey Peanut Butter Reese’s Bars

Ingredients:

1 box yellow cake mix
1 stick butter, softened
1 egg
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk (fat-free works great!)
15-20 (or however many you want) Reese’s peanut butter cups, coarsely chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13 inch baking dish with foil and spray generously with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix, butter, and egg until a dough forms. Press the dough onto the bottom of the prepared baking pan.Top the dough with chocolate chips.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together the sweetened condensed milk and peanut butter until well combined and pour over the dough. Top with the chopped Reese’s.
  4. Bake at 350 for 23-30 minutes, until the bars are golden brown and the center is set (doesn’t giggle when you move the pan). Let them cool completely before you cut them into squares.

Enjoy!

Note: The original recipe says the cook time is 23-25 minutes. I ended up cooking mine for closer to 30 because the bars wouldn’t set. When you take them out of the oven, they will be incredibly gooey. That’s ok, just let them cool completely (I know…willpower) before you eat them. It’s worth the wait!

Source: Kevin and Amanda

Celina Winter Photo Session

troche Christmas Eve, web and a Wonderful Christmas” href=”http://www.justeverydayme.com/gingerbread-houses-christmas-eve-wonderful-christmas/”>I shared in this post that I got a Canon 5D classic for Christmas! I am still a little in shock that I’m the owner of such an incredible camera. Over Christmas break my sister and I went out to do a photo session- she had been wanting to do one for a long time and I wanted to try out my new camera. It’s going to take me a little while to get used to all the different buttons and such (everything’s in a different place than my old camera!). Here are a couple from my session with Celina. To see the full post, eczema go to my photography website Amilia Photography.

Isn’t she gorgeous??? I think so.

I was thinking about doing some posts with photography tips going over aperture, shutter speed, ISO, equipment, post processing, and more.

Would you be interested in learning about photography? What sorts of things woud you want me to talk about?

Have a great day! I’m enjoying my snow-day-without-snow today ;)

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