There's no sure-fire way to capture the beauty of Christmas lights in a photograph. But, there are a few tips that might help. Here are five things to try when photographing the lights come Christmas.
Take a lot of Pictures. Often, the trick to getting a few beautiful shots is to take several attemps and to simply get rid of the weird ones. Especially with using a digital camera, it's very reasonable to take a hundred shots so that you can get five pictures that you really like. If at first you don't succeed, try, try, again.
Turn Off the Flash. Sometimes capturing great shots of light in an otherwise dark area happens when you turn off the flash. Having the flash on can overcompensate for the brightness of the picture and leave your photograph distorted. If your pictures just aren't coming out right, try turning the flash off for a few shots and see if the results are any better.
Zoom In. To get those stunning images that light right up off the page, you may want to try zooming in the camera. Photographers are able to capture perfect micro shots from physically standing still but, with the camera, zooming way in. That way, you can still position yourself where the lighting is best but capture precious details that would otherwise go unnoticed.
Try Your Motion Settings. Depending on the great Christmas displays you're trying to photograph, there may be some motion involved that you have to overcome, i.e., lighted star with various twinkles, a lighted deer that rocks back and forth, and so on. Many cameras have a motion or action setting to help you nab the perfect shot regardless that your subject is currently moving. Experiment with the setting to see if it can't help with your photographic goals this winter.
Try Various Angles. Another experimental aspect that may end up giving a great shot is just rotating the angles at which you approach your target. Christmas lights will have various glares as you move around; trying to capture the same scene from different angles , with various heights, with various tilts of the camera. Even the best photographers can luck into the right shot.
Play around and see what works for you. As long as you're happy with the results, you can chalk the experience up as a success.