Sarah + Ed Engagement | Christmas Tree Farm Engagement Photography

I’m going to start off by saying when I shoot couples, usually I try to give people just enough instruction to look good. I tell people what to do to look good and what not to do and I can pose people, but I like to leave couples alone. We might be outside for the exact reason of shooting them, but I want genuine interaction between the two to show in the photos. I want it to look like a behind the scenes of a fun filled day with the couple, not like prom formals in a field. Although that would be kinda funny. Most of the time I need to tell people to go to extremes to get the effect I want. If I want a fun energetic hug, I tell the guy to tackle the girl. Normally the guy won’t bring the girl to the ground, and he will just squeeze her real hard and they will laugh. It looks great. This time though, I had to be a bit more literal. When I said tackle her, I got an immediate take-down and full out wrestling match in the dirt. It was awesome. If I said squeeze her from behind, I got a chokehold. Again, awesome. Meet Sarah and Ed. We  got some wrestling in,  got to swing around a maul, wrapped each other up with Xmas lights, and froze our asses off. A great day. I couldn’t be more pumped to shoot their wedding!

Like I said.








Bring out the maul.

Something I like to do with all my couples for engagement sessions and weddings is get them alone for a few shots. One, a lot of people don’t have good shots of themselves without someone else in the picture. Two, a lot of people want small pictures on their desks with just their partner, not with them in it also. Three, and most importantly, it’s always a lot of fun.



Now we couldn’t have a Christmas Tree Farm theme without some lights. But there is no power in the middle of the field. No biggie. I have a DC to AC power converter in my car so I can run lights out of it. It’s not as easy to do Xmas lights as you may think, because if you don’t do it right it looks cliche. It’s a very popular thing these days, so you can’t just wrap it around them and call it a day.





Now moving onto some signature Mike Sperlak Photography night shots. Most people as the sun sets call it a day, I however love the night as it opens so many possibilities  Call me a nerd but I love setting up lights in weird places and trying to get some long exposures or light painting in. Happily they were down.



Thirsty Thursdays Q&A: Xmas Tree pics

Q: What is the best way to take a picture of a lit-up Christmas tree? I can never get it right! I have an older Canon EOS Rebel if that helps.

A: It depends. What are you going for? If you just want a semi-sharp snapshot of your tree, make sure your room is decently bright and set a high ISO. You should be able to handhold a shot of your tree. Now I’ll go over some common problems/looks for a Christmas tree. (You will need a basic understanding of your digital camera and exposure for these tips) First is that ugly yellowish cast to your photos. You know what I’m talking about. It’s very easy to get rid of. As long as you aren’t using a flash, you can go into your camera settings and change your White Balance from Auto to Tungsten (for normal lights. If you have rainbow lights you’re screwed.) That should straighten it out. If you have photoshop you can do it on the computer too.

Auto WB
Tungsten WB

If you use your flash, it will mess up the colors. The little lights are yellow and the flash is white. so when you try to blend the two either it will still be very yellow or the white will start to look blue. Plus, the flash will drown out the glow from the lights and it doesn’t look as good. You might have to use a tripod or set your camera on something because your shutter will probably be at a very slow speed without flash. Here are 2 images concerning flash:

No Flash.
Straight Flash.

Yes, I broke my window and I used painters tape to fix it. You all think photographers lead a glorious life? Ha. Anyway the image without flash is much better in my opinion Now onto the lights themselves  You know some pictures of trees where each light is like a beautiful starburst? That is because they are using a narrow aperture. When you use a wide aperture, you get a very shallow, beautiful depth of field but the lights are just blobs. When you narrow it down, you get more in focus, and you get starbursts. Check out the next few images.

f/ 2.8 @24mm
f/ 8 @24mm
f/ 16 @24mm

You can see you get these nice “stars” at mostly f/8 and above. at f/8 and above you will probably need a tripod. These look nice, but sometimes the best shots are up close macro shots of trees:

These will give you big beautiful blobs of light in the background. Looks great. Or, you could get the whole tree out of focus and get creative by putting your significant other/family/pets in front of it. Here’s a shot from a very recent shoot I did with a Xmas tree:

Have any other questions about Xmas trees? Leave them in the comments! Internet points to anyone who can find the Rugby ball in one of the above pictures.


Bonus content: Christmas Puppies!


Xmas Print Giveaway!

A giveaway is in order. I don’t normally talk a lot about my “likes” on facebook, but I thought I’d give out a big “Thank You” to everyone who has liked, commented, and shared my images. I think I started this year at 176 likes, hoping to hit 250-300 by the end of the year. It’s December 4th and I’m looking to break 500 in a couple days. Couldn’t be more excited. Only a little while ago I was shooting after work and juggling 2 jobs. Now, I’m doing this as a living and it’s awesome. Thanks. I’m going to give away an 18×12 Metal Print of your choice of any fine art image on my site. ( ) All you have to do is make sure you are a fan on facebook, enter the contest through this app (you won’t get any spam from it, its a one time thing), and share it on facebook! Less than 30 seconds and you are entered to win!