with Courtney Slazinik
The Secret to Capture Christmas Light Bokeh Background
Lifestyle, Light

Do you see these photos of the Christmas light bokeh background and a child wonderful exposed and wonder, how did they do that???

The secret to capturing one of these images is not a fancy flash or light set up. It is…are you ready for it?? Natural light.

Hopefully your tree is by a window. If not, don’t worry. You can string lights on your headboard or a foam board if you have a different location you would prefer to use.

Set your subject in a location where the light hits them nicely to create catchlights and there are Christmas lights behind them.

Pullback for Christmas light bokeh background:

pullback for Christmas light bokeh

I placed my daughter at a 45 degree angle from the window so she would have nice soft shadows and still have catchlights.

Remember, if you want to capture bokeh then you need to have your aperture pretty wide open.

For this images I had my aperture at f/1.4.
Settings: ss 1/160, ISO 100, f/1.4 taken with my 50mm 1.4
christmas light bokeh background

This image I closed down my aperture a little to get more of her in focus. My aperture was set at f/2
Settings: ss 1/125, ISO 100, f/2.0
christmas tree light bokeh

If you are looking to capture some photos of your kiddos/pets with a Christmas light bokeh background, then get near a window during the day and take advantage of the natural light. Don’t forget it is all about your aperture!

If you liked this post, you don’t want to miss these other Christmas posts:
* 16 Tips to Photograph Christmas morning
* 5 steps on how to photograph Christmas lights
* Tips to make your Christmas photos more than snapshots
* How to create beams of Christmas lights
* Christmas Tree Lights Photos: 5 Easy Steps
* Christmas Tree Light Bokeh

*Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you in advance if you decide to purchase something through the link and support Click it Up a Notch.

  • Kira
    December 20, 2012 at 11:39 AM

    Thanks for the tutorial! I love your blog.

    • Courtney
      December 21, 2012 at 12:16 PM

      I’m glad you enjoy it!! Thank YOU!

  • November 14, 2013 at 2:19 PM

    Thank you for sharing! I am looking forward to doing some holiday photos this year with my new camera (first dslr-Nikon D7000)!

  • Rhoda Jane Olmstead
    December 14, 2013 at 11:57 AM

    How far away was your camera from your baby?

    • December 24, 2013 at 11:03 AM

      Hey Rhonda,

      These photos were taken with my 50mm 1.4 so I was probably a few feet away. Maybe on the end of the blanket.

  • Eva
    February 16, 2014 at 3:22 PM

    is it possible to do if the lowest you can get is 3.5?!?!

    • February 19, 2014 at 1:44 PM

      It may be possible, honestly, I haven’t tried it. But it won’t be as blurry and great looking bokeh as it would be if it was shot at f2.2 or f1.4.

  • Jill
    November 29, 2014 at 10:09 AM

    Another key would be the distance between your subject and their background, right? I imagine it would be difficult to get a Christmas light bokeh if your subject was right in front of the tree unless you shot wide wide open?

  • Megan Boesch
    November 29, 2014 at 10:34 AM

    I tried this last year and the baby was cute, the light was perfect. Everything was great EXCEPT I had flares from the Christmas lights all over the shot. I just read recently that it was from my filter. Im looking forward to trying again with my filter off!

  • November 29, 2014 at 11:18 AM

    Great article. I just purchased this lens for my bag. I’ll be setting up my Christmas tree an using your advice this year to capture my kids in front of the tree. :). You are a wonderful educator and blogger. So happy to have found your site.

  • Jennifer Russell
    November 29, 2014 at 12:33 PM

    Love this! Always love reading your blog! Going to have some fun with this tomorrow!

  • Alex
    December 4, 2014 at 3:04 AM

    Thanks for the tips! God bless you and your family!

  • Alex
    December 4, 2014 at 4:31 AM

    Thank you for the tips!
    God bless you and your family!

  • December 6, 2014 at 2:25 AM

    thanks so much for this great tutorial. just a q. did you use a tripod? thank you in advance.

    • December 8, 2014 at 1:12 PM

      Hey Betty,

      No, I didn’t use a tripod for these images. You can but I like to be able to move around easily with my camera.

  • Sonja Carree
    December 1, 2016 at 12:34 PM

    Thank you for these great tips ..

  • Susan
    December 5, 2016 at 10:54 AM

    I have a 50mm f1.8, which is relatively new for me. I enjoy the bokeh effect, but I’m always concerned about the subject (person) not being completely in focus. Your first image at f1.4 doesn’t seem to have that issue…unless it’s difficult to tell on my screen. Then you went to f2 for the second image. What do you typically shoot at? I’m not that comfortable at f1.8 due to the focus issue, and stop up to f2. Is that something I need to become more comfortable with?

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