As each year passes since I purchased our prelit tree the day after Christmas at 50% off at Target, the tree is less and less prelit. Each year a new quadrant no longer lites, so that this year only the top 12 inches of the sad tree was lighting. I contemplated what to do – leave it be this year, and buy another tree the day after Christmas? I imagined my children speaking of their youth, and saying “Well, we had a tree but only the top was ever lit” As that scenario went through my mind, off I went to buy more lights in Allen, Texas. We must have a fully lit prelit tree!!! Our tree now looks as amazing as it once did.

 My youngest little loves to help me decorate so we did the lights, the garland, and both boys helped with the ornaments. I always take Christmas morning videos and photos but had not tried a session at night with the tree lit. We had 10 minutes one night before karate, so my little sat for me for a test shot in our home. He put on his holiday jammies from last year, they really do not fit him well anymore but you can’t really see it, except now that I’ve pointed it out! 🙂 So this is an image made by a tree than no longer lit, and jammies that no longer fit – yet I love and will always treasure, that youth, innocence, and magic of Christmas in my youngest.

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If you’d like to try one of your own children, it is best if you have a DSLR camera than can easily handle high ISO. We turned all the lights out so only the tree was lit. The tree should be lit with white lights, lots and lots of white lights.

I shoot in manual and do adjust my settings as I go and see what works best, but for the below shot here is where my setting were: ISO: 12,800 Aperture: 2.2 Shutter: 200

The twinkle in the lights is created by a Star Filter. Mine is a Rocketfish 8-point Star Filter bought at Best Buy last year for under $20. You need to be sure you buy one that will fit the lens you will be using. The star filter works best in a dark room with small bright sources of light which is why it is perfect for my Treelight Session.

 In Lightroom, I did a good amount of noise reduction, reduced clarity, increased the exposure a touch, increased the highlights, and decreased the shadows. I took the adjustment brush and darkened the exposure on the wall behind my son in our family room. In Photoshop, I did a bit of spot removal and cleaned it up a bit and magic – Treelight Twinkle done!

Happy Holiday to you and your families!