Podcast 17: Photographing Christmas Lights

With Becca Dorstek

Porch Ideas Network Podcast Logo becca dorstek photographer Photographing Christmas lights can be tricky, but Becca Dorstek makes it easy for anyone by sharing her ideas and tips with us. Becca, a self-taught photographer, has taken amazing photos of Christmas lights on the porches of homes in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, New York.

We were excited to share her photos with you and now you get to hear how Becca can help anyone capture the magic of the season.

You don't have to be an expert photographer to capture the beauty of holiday lighting on your front porch or in your neighborhood. A few simple tips and ideas can help you create striking images whether you use an SLR, iPhone or Android.

Our conversation with Becca reveals not only the preparation steps you need to take but also some fun tips to make it more enjoyable. We welcome Becca to our porch to share her professional photography tips and ideas!


Listen to Our Audio Program: 00:27:22


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Program Highlights

holiday lights with the American flag
Beautiful front yard display
(photography by Becca Dorstek)
  • Becca shares low-light photography tips
  • Why she says patience and experimentation are key ingredients in getting great shots in low-light pictures
  • Get beautiful panoramic photos with your cell phone
  • How to find wonderful neighborhoods that decorate for Christmas
  • Tips for choosing the right time for taking your evening holiday pictures
  • The essential things you should carry with you for your photo expedition
  • How a bean bag, tripod, timer and remote clicker can improve your low-light photography
  • Why you need a long exposure time for low-light pictures - and how much exposure time Becca has found to work for her
  • Filters - which one is great for nighttime photography and why you may not even need one
  • What "exif" settings are and how you can see them to find out what settings photographers are using to get great pictures
  • Taking photos in a snowstorm of front porches with their lights on is amazing



Excerpts with Becca Dorstek

Picking a Location

"Plan to get there when there are less people and looking at the weather report and finding a cold snap and just dressing well. I go out when it is very cold, below zero, nobody's out and I just have the run of the block."


Stabilize Your Camera

"For the longest time I didn't have a tripod so I would find anything to put my camera on: car roofs, mailboxes, and what I discovered was the bean bag. If you don't have a bean bag you can use a bag of peas."

I've done shots where I put it on a tripod but pressed the actual shutter button, even then a very short amount of motion has resulted in slight blur of my photos so if you want to blow something up and make a wall hanging or poster you'll notice it."


Patience

"The biggest thing a person can do is to prepare themselves to spend some time out in the cold, dress appropriately so you are not freezing and miserable, bring the hand warmers so you can keep your batteries and fingers warm."


Lenses

"I'll bring one that's 18 to 55mm, you won't need a zoom and you won't need a super wide angle lens unless you want it all distorted, so rather than lugging around a bunch of lenses, I just bring what I need."


beautiful christmas light display on front porch
Amazing Christmas light display
(photography by Becca Dorstek)



front of house lit with christmas lights and decorations
Capturing the magic of Christmas
(photography by Becca Dorstek)






Listen to Our Audio Program: 00:27:22


Download the Porch Ideas Network audio program Listen to the Porch Ideas Network on iTunes Listen to the Porch Ideas Network on Stitcher Radio



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