Do you wish you knew how to take those amazing silhouette photos of your kids in front of the Christmas tree that you see on social media?

But you don’t have any ninja photo skills or a $1000 camera?

Neither do I.

However, I did a bunch of research to share with you so that you can take an amazing Christmas tree lights photo for your family’s Christmas card or social media profile pix too with just your cell phone camera.

Plus read on to discover an amazing secret tool for designing your Christmas card that Shutterfly & those other photo sites don’t want you to know about!

Step by Step to an Amazing Christmas Tree Lights Photo

First, switch your phone camera from auto to manual.

Now select shutter speed. Mine looks kind of like a clock icon. Change it to 1/20.

Next, find your ISO setting. Mine simply says ISO. Make it as high as you can. That was 3200 on mine.

Finally, switch your aperture. My camera has a little +/- icon. Change it to 1.7 (or as close as you can get to that).

That’s all you need to change for this Christmas tree lights shoot.

Some links in this post may be affiliate links. This means that if you click on them, I may make a tiny commission, at no extra cost to you.

Camera Settings for a Luminous Christmas Tree Lights Photo

Here are the settings I found to work best for my cell phone camera.

  • Shutter speed 1/20
  • ISO 3200
  • Aperture f/1.7

Setting the Stage for the Christmas Tree Lights Photo

These are the Christmas tree pictures that I took with my cell phone last night. I waited until it was completely dark out (3 hours past sunset).

Then I turned off all of the other lights in the house.

I used a tripod (that my son bought at a garage sale and then never used 😀), but you can just steady your hands on the back of chair if you don’t feel steady enough.

I had the kids stand back as far as they could from the tree and still reach it. Then I placed the tripod about 3 feet away from them. Make sure they know to stand as still as possible while you take the picture since it’s a slow shutter speed.

The Results

After taking the pictures, I used the “auto” adjust (sometimes called auto correct) setting on my phone’s camera.

Then I used one of the filters built into the camera settings.

The first two sets of pictures, I was playing around with the shutter speed.

christmas tree lights photo
As shot f/1.7 1/90 ISO3200
christmas tree lights photo
With auto correct & “bright” filter
christmas tree lights photo
As shot f/1.7 1/45 ISO 3200
Auto correct only
christmas tree lights photo
Light & airy filter

These next two sets of photos are with the shutter speed set at 1/20.

christmas tree lights photo
As shot f/1.7 1/20 ISO3200
christmas tree lights photo
Auto correct plus “aged photo” filter
christmas tree lights photo
As shot f/1.7 1/20 ISO 3200
christmas tree lights photo
Auto correct and black/white landscape filter

Which one is your favorite?

6 Canva Templates for Designing Your Own Custom Christmas Card

Every year for the last 10 years or more, I’ve used Shutterfly or Snapfish to upload our family Christmas card photo to make our annual Christmas card.

But it just kills me that the really cute or trendy designs cost so much!!

christmas card templates canva

Then I have to decide if I want to pare down my Christmas card list or choose a design I don’t like as well, but that is cheaper. And I don’t like either of those choices. You probably don’t either.

However, I recently discovered that I could make Christmas cards on Canva!!

So I’ve made a set of six Custom Canva Christmas Card templates that you can’t get anywhere else!

Just download the Whole Child Homeschool Christmas Tree Lights Camera Settings page from the Free Resource Library and click on the link.

IMPORTANT!!!! You MUST SAVE A COPY of the templates to your free Canva account BEFORE you edit them.

Join our Whole Child Homeschool Tribe below {it’s FREE!} for access to our Free Resource Library to get a printable copy of the settings PLUS the Canva Christmas Card photo template link.

12 Days of Christmas Advent Activities & Printables

Be sure to follow my Pinterest board Christmastime Homeschooling for more great hands-on activities and ideas for keeping your kids learning this holiday season!

Pin this to your favorite board so you can find it again!

lights on the christmas tree pin
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