Christmas Tree Zoom Photography Trick

Looking to get in the holiday spirit? This starburst zoom trick shared by photographer Chelsea Northrup will make your festive family photos in front of the tree more interesting than ever:

No, Northrup wasn’t forced to rig her living room up with industrial-grade lights to get this breathtaking image. All it takes to pull off this technique is a tripod, a long shutter speed, and a little bit of creativity.

The first order of business is setting your composition. For this shot, you’re actually going to want to disregard the rule or thirds entirely. Instead, your lit subject should be in the center of your frame (so that you can see as much of the light streaks as possible). Once you’re satisfied with the preview display, secure your camera to a tripod.

As far as your setting go, you’ll want a narrow aperture and a long shutter speed. Start with an exposure that’s at least five seconds long. Depending on how the image comes out, you can experiment with exposure times and f-stops. When you’re ready, snap the shutter just as you normally would. However, while the exposure is still recording, carefully zoom into the frame.

light zoom christmas photo

The result? An amazing picture that’s surprisingly easy to pull off. No photoshopping or complex editing is necessary—this technique records the effect directly in-camera.

christmas light photography

Consider this quick tip a gift from us to you this holiday season! When the family is gathered around the tree in your living room, take a moment to pull out your camera—you may just capture an unforgettable magic moment.

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