Adding Magic to Photos with Fairylights

Fairy lights are amazing. Added to a photo, they bring softness, magic and a touch of whimsy all in one. And the best thing is, they’re no longer reserved just for Christmas.

Today I’m going to work through a flatlay with fairy lights and the different techniques you can use.

What you’ll need:

  • A backdrop or setting for your photo. Dark is best. I got the backdrop shown in this tutorial from Mini Backdrops.
  • Fairy lights. There’s so many different types and colours and each will give a slightly different effect. I’ve used lights on bendable copper wire with a battery pack.
  • A camera (obviously). Your phone will work but a DSLR that you can manipulate the aperture with is better.
  • Whatever props you want. I have an old copy of Wuthering Heights and an all and sundry set of things from Kmart.
  • A tripod, though not necessary.

Alright, let’s get into it. First off you need to set your scene. You can see mine here… I’m going for a warm, cosy vibe, but with a touch of class with the grey tones.

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Emily K Creative

Now, to place your fairy lights… I’ll show you three different tips to get different types of magic. The first two have the fairy lights placed at the back on the fur.

1. Overhead shot:

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Emily K Creative

The classic Flatlay. As you can see, there isn’t a great deal of bokeh because the image is flat. The lights still add a touch of whimsy and imagination to the image and the copper wire is another interesting texture.

2. Angled shot:

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Emily K Creative

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Emily K Creative

Put your aperture low and try a different angle with your camera. Having the lights in the background of your focused subject creates a beautiful bokeh effect. Both these were shot at f/2.2 but as I’m lower – and thus further away from the lights – in the second image, there’s a greater effect.

3. Lights up front:

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Emily K Creative

This is where the tripod and a timer or hand held shutter will come in handy. Bring your lights from the back to the fore and hold them up in front of the camera. Keep your focus on your main subject and move the lights around until you have a nice framing effect.

And voila! Three easy tips for using fairy lights in your photos! For more photography and styling hacks, visit my blog posts here.

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