close up photography of white cat besides christmas lights
Photo by Eftodii Aurelia on

There are the everyday lights taken by the everyday photographer, which, don’t get me wrong, is really nice, but is taken by everyone, the same photo of the whole block of beautiful lights, and then there is the creative photographer who goes the extra mile to do something with all these beautiful lights.  Want to do something really different this year with the Christmas Lights?  Take these steps and see if you don’t have more fun and enjoyment and more ooohs, and aaahhs, out of your photos:

At this time of year, many of the world’s cultures and religions celebrate holidays that involve lights. While the use of lights and candles is often explained in terms of the rites of the particular culture, most scholars agree that the lights came first; the explanations followed. After all, since humans gained control of fire, light has been used to illuminate the darkness – especially, during the depths of winter – rather than curse it.

Christians explain the candles, tree lights, and Yule log in terms of the birth of Christ and the Star of Bethlehem. The impact of these lights – if not the explanation – is so powerful that even modern-day Buddhist and Shinto Japan is ablaze with lights and decorations at “Christmas time.” And, in the same dark days of the winter solstice, Hanukkah is the “Festival of Lights” celebrated by Jews around the world.

Years ago, taking great photographs of holiday lights was difficult because the films of yesteryear weren’t very sensitive. They had difficulty recording an image in the low-light of a candle, for example.


This is an important point because holiday lights usually look their best when shot without added light. In fact, this is Rule One when it comes to getting good pictures of lights: Turn off your flash. Let’s repeat that: For most pictures of holiday lights, turn off your flash!

gray and gold baubles hanging on christmas tree
Photo by Oleg Magni on

With today’s smartphones, the ability to get the perfect photos of your Christmas lighting is a snap. The manufactures of cell phones have done some special tricks to phones so that you can generally just shoot in automatic mode and get the perfect photo.

If you want to do something really creative, however, with your Christmas lights, let me give you a few pictures to look at, and see if this doesn’t give you some creative ideas, too:

photo of girl sitting near christmas tree
Photo by Jonathan Borba on
family decorating their christmas tree
Photo by Jonathan Borba on
couple wearing red christmas socks
Photo by Arthur Brognoli on
boy beside christmas tree illustration
Photo by Jeswin Thomas on
selective focus photography of gold star bauble
Photo by Valeria Boltneva on
close up photography of woman holding sting lights
Photo by Kha Ruxury on

Christmas is definitely a magical time of year. Look at these pictures, and see if you can do something like these photos, and make your photos seem magical too.


Note: we were scheduled to do a blog about “how to do photos with long exposure”. But, that is something that is not easy to do, because most phones just don’t have that capability. So, we decided to do this instead, but count that as one the 50 subjects of photography for cell phones.

Published by 123photogo

I have been a photographer for many years. Worked in retail selling cameras and accessories for over 20 years. Taught many photo classes, and have even been a judge in several county fairs. Now, I want to share photo instructions and entertainment with all other photographers around the world.

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