· Feel it out –Remember, this is your house. What you don’t want to be is the guy who just spent countless hours decorating, goes out to take a picture, and come whenever it is time to get it off your SD card that it looks awful from that angle.
· Take Multiple Shots –One shot might look good on your camera’s preview screen…but chances are…it’s not. Do yourself a favor and take the time to ensure you got it right. Take multiple shots from the same angle and anyplace else you might want to do the same.
· Crouch to shoot—this gives the house an overpowering sense of presence in the mind of the viewer of the photo, and to most people makes it look even more delightful. By taking it from this angle your forcing yourself to see it though a ‘child’s eye’ view, which in the end will make it feel all the more special.
· A Good Camera – Let me clarify…you need a good camera. Period. Anything that is less than 8megapixels…don’t even take it out of the house to try unless you are insistent on getting a nice, grainy looking picture of your home. I recommend using a 10megapixel camera or above for any shoots of this nature.
· Wide Angle Lens – most cameras now days have this built into it as a consumer improvement. If you have one in yours, this is fantastic. What a wide angle lens offers you is the ability to get your WHOLE house in your shot without doing something strange like running across the street and standing in your neighbor’s lawn while they are wondering in the meantime why you’re standing in a foot deep of snow…camera aside…still very strange.
· Stability – so important while photographing Christmas lights to avoid a nasty blur in your photos. Using a tripod works best, however if one isn’t available, consider leaning up or basing yourself against a tree. This is an acceptable replacement for most people who aren’t naturally shaky.
· Come across an ‘Animated House’ that lights up the street and dances? Want to shoot it to show your friends or with us here on K3 Lights? Here are a few things to take into consideration while doing so…
Shoot from a tripod
Stay in one place for an entire song or segment of show
Walk around the exhibit but only after the show is over
Silence is Golden – Keep quiet…let us feel like we are there. Narration is cool and all…but just not from you. If you shoot right, we’ll all be thinking the same thing you are anyway!
About the Cameras we used in 2010
The K3 Lights team used a standard consumer camera to take nearly all of their shots during the 2010 Holiday Tour.
The camera used was a Sony DSC-H55 consumer grade camera.
The reasons we selected this camera are pretty simple.
First and foremost, we were looking for something that would get the majority of homes in on the 1st shot…for this we needed a wide-angle lens. The Sony DSC-H55 wide angle lens is fantastic on this camera…as a professional; on this lens 3 years ago I would have paid hundreds of dollars for this feature alone. Additionally for our needs we needed something with a great stability feature. One of the downsides to taking pictures of houses in the dark, on the go, in the middle of the night is that you don’t really have time to jump out and set up a tri-pod for every home. Because of this a FANTASTIC stability feature is needed in whatever camera you use. Because of this, the Optical SteadyShot Stabilization feature was a fantastic addition to this camera. Finally, we needed an upgrade in our megapixels. In 2009, we used a Canon Powershot…and it was awful (5 megapixels; no wide angle; no stability). This camera gave us a much needed boost (14.1 megapixels) and at this point is second to hardly any of the SLR variety.
A bonus to this particular selection and something we used when I personally wasn’t able to go out and shoot was the Fireworks scene mode. Granted, it is met for Fireworks, but works astonishingly for Christmas lights as well.