jesi peterson


How to Shoot Your Holiday

Your Tree

YTips on taking beautiful images of your Christmas tree

I love setting up the Christmas tree every year! Pulling out my childhood ornaments, the ornaments we bought when we were first married, the lights, and putting them all on the tree is the first thing we do to welcome the Christmas season and it makes me so happy!! Shooting that Christmas tree is something I do just for me. I don’t know that my kids will care about the pictures of Christmas tree but I care about them and I care about remembering the ornaments we all have.

It’s important to know how you want to shoot your Christmas tree. Do you want to have it all in focus or do you want to just show the bokeh (the circles of light that are created by an unfocused lens)?

You want to show your tree in all its lit up glory!!

Here are my tips for shooting your tree beautifully!

Turn off all the lights

…except for the tree of course 😉 And, make sure you are shooting the tree at night. We want the tree to be the only light!

Christmas tree

Step back

Step back and admire that beautiful tree! You need to take a minute to admire the hard work you put into putting that tree together and making it beautiful!


To get those photos with awesome bokeh, you need to turn your camera to manual focus. Then when you point your camera at the tree, look through the viewfinder and turn your focus ring on your lens. This will un-focus the image and you can get the size of bokeh circles that you want. If you go really far the circles of light will get really big. Turning it less will make them smaller. Play around with it and find what size of circles you like and then click the shutter button. This will take a blurry picture that will give you the amazing bokeh you’re looking for!

Set your white balance.

Set your white balance according to the color of the lights on your tree. I use an ExpoDisc to set my white balance and exposure but you can do this using Kelvin or one of the settings in your camera if you don’t understand Kelvin (I certainly don’t so if you do, good on you!)

Raise your ISO.

Don’t fear the ISO. Yes, you are going to get some grain in your images but the grain will be easier to deal with when you edit the photo than it would be if you try and brighten it later.

Shoot your ornaments

Shoot your tree decor during the day using natural light! Show those beautiful details off using natural light!

Mr & Mrs Christmas Ornament

Show off that tree in all its lit up glory!

Want more tips for shooting your holidays? Check these out!

The First Steps
Your Christmas Tree
Your Holiday Traditions
Your Kids Enjoying the Season

December 17, 2017


  1. Marquette says:

    I love seeing Christmas Tree Photos like this! Awesome tips!

  2. Misty says:

    These are great tips for someone trying to get shots of their tree!!

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