3 Tips for Better Holiday Pictures...

Home Inspector with Complete Home Inspections, Inc. TN Lic#050

3 Tips for better Holiday pictures...

Tis the season to take Holiday pictures and share them with your ActiveRain friends and family. Here are a few tips that I have learned over my 30 years behind the lens to have you shooting like the pro you knew you were. 

#1 - Use manual settings on your D-SLR. I prefer to use Aperture Priority settings. Set the aperture to the maximum f-stop (smallest number) you have. Depending upon the lens this will generally be f 5.4 or f 4.5. This will open the iris to allow maximum light into the camera sensor. Using Program or Auto setting will use a combination of shutter and aperture settings to get the results. Too small an aperture along with too much shutter time will make your shots grainy or allow in too much light which will ruin the shot.

#2 - Use manual focus.
Many D-SLR's have problems focusing on dim lights. Don't leave your pictures to chance. Manually focus your shots for best results.

#3 - Use a good tripod. Good tripods have come down in price over the years. No matter how steady a hand you have, you cannot hold a camera still for over 1/8th of a second. After that, your shots will be blurred.

By using these 3 tips and a little practice, you too will be shooting like a pro in no time. Good luck...

Downtown Franklin, TN.

Christmas tree on the square in downtown Franklin, TN

Looking down Main Street, downtown Franklin, TN

© 2009 michael thornton | complete home inspections, inc. | brentwood, tn | 615.661.0297 | www.completehomeinspectionsonline.com
Helping YOU help others live THEIR American Dream...

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Complete Home Inspections, Brentwood TN 615.661.0297


Re-Blogged 11 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. John Occhi 12/19/2009 03:43 AM
  2. Lisa Lambert/PMN/AHWD/SRES 12/19/2009 04:19 AM
  3. Donald Bradbury 12/19/2009 06:35 AM
  4. Roland Woodworth 12/19/2009 03:44 PM
  5. Christopher Webster 12/19/2009 04:48 PM
  6. Diane Williams 12/19/2009 07:17 PM
  7. Anna Banana Kruchten CRB, CRS, Broker 12/20/2009 09:31 AM
  8. Tim Ludemann 12/20/2009 09:58 AM
  9. Marian Pierre-Louis 12/20/2009 12:57 PM
  10. Al & Peggy Cunningham, Brokers 12/20/2009 01:41 PM
  11. Mesa, Arizona Real Estate Mesa Arizona Realtor 12/21/2009 03:47 PM
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Linda Lohman
Fonville Morisey Realty - Cary, NC
Former Teacher/Broker

Your pictures are beautiful.  I've often thought about getting a more advanced camera.

Dec 20, 2009 09:16 AM #106
Anna Banana Kruchten CRB, CRS, Broker
Phoenix Property Shoppe - Phoenix, AZ
Arizona's Top Banana of Real Estate!

That's it - Santa must deliver a tripod this year!  Great points - thanks!

Dec 20, 2009 09:30 AM #107
Graziella Bruner
NCS Premier Real Estate - Detroit, MI
Associate Broker - Serving Wayne & Oakland County

Beautiful pictures and thanks for the tips!  I will put them to use in the next few days, especially when the grandchildren are around opening their gifts.  Thanks and Have a blessed and wonderful Merry Christmas.

Dec 20, 2009 09:31 AM #108
Gerry Khatchikian
Red Lodge, MT


Thank you for the tips.   The photos are awesome and the rain on the ground sure added some colors to your night photos!   I am still using a point and shoot camera but I am hoping to make the switch to a D-SLR in the near future.  Your beautiful night photos of Franklin are further convincing me to make the switch.

Dec 20, 2009 09:54 AM #109
Tim Ludemann
Ochopee, FL

Thanks for the pointers...my picture taking is always interesting experience.

Dec 20, 2009 09:57 AM #110
Marian Pierre-Louis
Fieldstone Historic Research - Medway, MA
Metrowest Boston

Great photos and great tips!  I have a D-SLR but I haven't really gotten past the auto features.  I think now I am ready to venture out a little bit more.  Thanks!

Dec 20, 2009 12:56 PM #111
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

I need to play some more with the manual settings on my digital SLR.  I've never learned them as well as I knew those on my regular SLR.

Dec 20, 2009 01:02 PM #112
Marchel Peterson
Results Realty - Spring, TX
Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro

Wow Michael 111 comments and going.  As always great information.  I'm glad I was able to comment before your comments get turned off because of too many comments.

Dec 20, 2009 01:03 PM #113
Emily Lowe
The Lipman Group | Sotheby's International Realty - Nashville, TN
Nashville TN Realtor

Great tips and great photos of downtown Franklin!  Thanks for sharing!

Dec 20, 2009 01:38 PM #114
Barbara Linick
ERA Troy, Realtors - Hollywood Park, TX

Your blog came just at the right time!  I've been struggling to get a good outside shot of my home's Christmas lights, and it just wasn't working.  I've got a Canon Power Shot S70 that takes awesome interior shots, but I just didn't know how to set the F stops, etc., to make it work at night.  Just ran outside and tried it, and it is SO much better.  Now I need to get the old tripod out to make it really good.  Thanks for the great info!

Dec 20, 2009 02:27 PM #115
Marlene Hoffman - Naples Beach Condos
Downing-Frye Realty, Inc. - Naples, FL

Thanks for the tips and the beautiful pictures.  You have inspired me to get out there and do some more shooting myself.  The rain was an added bonus.  Merry Christmas!!

Dec 21, 2009 02:04 AM #116
Mesa, Arizona Real Estate Mesa Arizona Realtor
Homes Arizona Real Estate LLC - Mesa, AZ

Michael, let me add my kuddos to the above comments. LOVE the tutorial, and the photographs are absolutely awesome!!! I'm bookmarking this so I can get the hang of the aperture, etc. I have the same settings on my camera, but haven't used the Manual setting yet. I have the Nikon D70s with a wide angle and the 18-200 as well as a wide angle and the original one I purchased with the camera. I am still trying to get the "hang" of all of those other buttons! Thanks for sharing all of these cool details ;-)


Merry Christmas

Dec 21, 2009 02:52 AM #117
Ed Kaminsky
Kaminsky Real Estate Group/Shorewood Realtors - Manhattan Beach, CA
Ed Kaminsky

Once we got less "flash dependent" we learned our photos come out so much better than before. They are more true to the occasion, candids come out great, and overall we are pleased with each photo now more than ever. Here's something else we learned . . . when sending out a photo collection for family and friends to view, via Shutterfly, Kodak Gallery, Facebook, or Flickr pick the top shots and narrow the book down so that instead of 100 of the same shots you have a quality book of 25-30 of the best shots. Trust me, people will look forward to your books much more in the future!

Dec 21, 2009 08:03 AM #118
Jim Hale
Eugene Oregon's Best Home Search Website

Michael -

Thanks for the post...I am always out to learn a new thing or two about pix-making.  Your examples are illuminating...and so are the comments you've received and your answers.

Dec 21, 2009 07:09 PM #119
Dan Haggerty
Regal Real Estate Professionals - Winter Park, FL

Nice photos thanks for the tips!

Dec 22, 2009 11:02 AM #120
Debra Leisek
Bay Realty,Inc Homer Alaska - Homer, AK

great tips and beautiful photos! the tripod idea is good.... I need more help than that... but thank you!

Dec 29, 2009 04:23 PM #121
William Johnson
RE/MAX Associates - La Jolla, CA
San Diego Real Estate Voice, GRI CRS e-Pro CDPE

Good Morning Michael, I noticed that you did not add the Award of Merit Ribbon to your post. Could you do that please so everyone can see it. You certainly deserve it and it would be nice to see these awards posted in the blog so other ActiveRain members can see that they have been awarded.

Dec 31, 2009 03:57 AM #122
Emelyn Morris-Sayre
The Berkshire Group - Lakewood, CO
CRS, REALTOR, Lakewood/Denver 303-517-5116

Michael - Thanks for the tips. For years I used a 35 mm camera and always used manual settings. For Christmas, I received a Nikon D3000 camera and I am so excited to get back in the saddle with photos where I truly have more control. I have signed up for a night walk shoot of Denver within 2 weeks so hopefully I will be able to post something soon. Thanks and Happy New Year!

Dec 31, 2009 10:12 AM #123
Randy DeLaMare
Realtypath LLC - Salt Lake City, UT
Helping friends Realize their Real Estate Dreams

You did a great job backing up your post. These pictures are great and your advice is great as well. Thanks for the post.

Jan 01, 2010 03:28 PM #124
Vic Steele
Vic Steele, Broker CA BRE 01349863 - Anaheim Hills, CA

Wow!  I can see why Charles Buell introduced me to your blog Michael!  I'm your newest subscriber!

A referral is sending someone you care about to someone you trust! 

Valet Real Estate Services

Concierge Man Serves a Home

Vic Steele, Broker, CA DRE License No. 01349863

Valet Real Estate Services

571 N. Poplar, Suite H, Orange, CA  92868


Mar 21, 2010 05:54 AM #125
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