1. Use a TripodTo begin, you will need to set up a tripod and frame your shot. If you do not have a tripod, place your camera on a steady surface, as we will be doing long exposure photography and we want to avoid camera shake. If you do not use a tripod this will be a disastrous result, so this is the most important step.
2. Lowest ISOBecause you will be letting a lot of light into your camera with a long exposure, set your ISO to the lowest possible to avoid over exposure. I used L.O 10
3. High F/StopAgain, because of the amount of light that will be entering the camera we want to use a high F/Stop to avoid over exposure, as well as to get all of the "strands of light" in focus. I used F14.
4. Long Shutter SpeedNow it's time to choose your shutter speed, you may need to experiment a bit to figure out what is right for your situation but a good starting point is around 2 seconds.
5. FocusIt is important that you focus on the middle of the tree and centre your shot. If you do not shoot in the centre the strands of light will appear to be coming out of the side of the tree.
6. ZoomingNow to get the 3D effect, you will need a zoom lens. Begin by "zooming" in on the tree, click the shutter and slowly rotate your focal length to a wider setting. I chose to shoot with my 24 - 70 mm. I began my shot at 70mm and ended on 24mm.
7. TimingIt is important that you think about the time of day you choose to shoot, especially if your tree is near a window like ours. It is much better to shoot in the dark so that your lights will appear vividly. However, you can also cover the window light with a blanket which is what I actually ended up doing in the afternoon.
As you can see here the window light to the left is disrupting our shot quite a bit, but once covered with a dark blanket this was the final result.
There you have it, our simple guide to creating an exploding Christmas tree! We would love to see your results so make sure you share with us on