I love the Holidays! Especially Christmas, as there are so many great photo opportunities.
For stock photography, Christmas images are one of the largest selling themes. I almost always take a few pictures to upload, starting with getting the tree.
What I love about the tree is the beautiful and fun bokeh created by the lights. Bokeh is out-of-focus blur—usually as big round circles in the background of a photo.
Here is a picture I took a few years ago specifically for stock. My idea was milk and cookies left out for Santa.
Here is my setup:
1. I put a little coffee table about 3 feet in front of the tree. You need a little distance to be able to blur the tree and lights in the background.
2. I then arranged my cookies to be the main subject and focal point. My light source, a window, was in front of the cookies with nice diffused light.
3. Next, I set my camera to shoot at a wide aperture, which is what creates that pretty blurred bokeh. For this picture, I used a 50mm lens set at f/2.8, 100 shutter speed, and 500 ISO.
For stock, I like a prime lens (meaning it doesn’t zoom) as it’s sharper than a zoom lens.
Focus: In this photo, my focus is on one of the top lines of the front cookie. Note that the closer your subject is to the camera, the more the background will blur behind it.
How did I get stars? I had bought a set of templates and used a star shape. You can do this on your own, too, by cutting a circle out of black paper the size of your lens. Then cut your star or other shape out of the center. Place it over your lens and shoot!
For this year, my favorite Christmas stock photo is of two of my favorite things to capture with my lens, my son and our dog Moxie!
For this picture, I also used a prime lens. This time, I went with the 85mm, which is my favorite lens for the best bokeh. Notice the Christmas lights blurred nicely in the background.
My settings were: f/1.2, shutter speed of 125 and ISO 640.
Play with your aperture, experiment, and have fun this season. And most importantly, upload a few of your pictures to stock agencies! My Christmas pictures sell all year long.