DIY Christmas Lights Background

Have you ever wondered how photographers are able to get pictures of babies and children in front of a sparkling christmas lights background? Well I am here today to show you how it’s done, and it’s easier than you think! Here is a step-by-step DIY guide to creating your own Christmas Lights Background.

Before we start I would like to mention that I originally planned to have my adorable daughter be the model for this DIY post. However, after FOUR failed attempts and lots of tears (hers and mine) I decided to go with one of her favorite teddy bears instead. Hopefully your little one will be more cooperative than mine! One tip I learned from this is to get everything set up and ready to go and then bring in your subject at the very end. That way all you have to do is snap a few pictures and you’re done!

DIY Christmas Lights Background

Here is what you’ll need:

– Christmas lights (clear with white wire)

– White flat sheet

– Clear tape

– Camera

– Cute camera model

Here’s how to do it:

DIY Christmas Lights Background

1. Hang the sheet. I draped mine over my daughter’s crib, but you can hang yours from the wall or other high piece of furniture. If you need to, secure with clear tape. Don’t worry – you won’t see the wrinkles in the sheet in the end photograph.

DIY Christmas Lights Background

2. Drape Christmas lights over your sheet. I would probably add another string of lights if I were to do this again, but one worked just fine. If you need to, tape lights into place. The more lights you use the more sparkly bokeh you will have in your final photograph.


DIY Christmas Lights Background

3. Get ready to take your picture. If you are using manual settings make sure you set your ISO, shutter speed and aperture to get the result you want. The key to getting a nice blurry background (bokeh) is to have a very small aperture (as small as you can get on your camera, for example 2.0). You want the subject to be far away from the background (at least 5-6 feet) and you want to be close to your subject. It may take a few different tries to get the blurry lights just right, which is why it’s a good idea to use a stand in model (preferably something that doesn’t move) while you perfect your set-up.If you are using a point and shoot camera, make sure that your flash is off and try changing the setting to “portrait” or “detail” (usually the symbols are a person and a flower, respectively).

DIY Christmas Lights Background

4. Once you have your set-up complete, bring the model in and snap away! I ended up having my “model” about 7-8 feet away from the background, I was about 2 feet away from my model, and my aperture was wide open to 2.0 (which is the lowest I can go with my lens).

Feel free to experiment with colored lights as well, they have a really festive look to them. Have you ever created this kind of background for pictures before? We want to see them! Share them on our Facebook wall.

*all photos taken by Tracy Cepelak of Tracy Lynn Photography

About Tracy

Tracy is a children's photographer at Tracy Lynn Photography ( in Houston, TX. When she isn't behind the camera you can find her chasing around her one year old daughter, baking something sweet in the kitchen, and traveling as much as she can. She writes about her life as a mom at the mini traveling cupcake and traveling adventures at The Traveling Cupcake. Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest

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