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EOS M10 Lesson 5: Ways to Capture Sparkling Christmas Lights

Canon’s chic and lightweight mirrorless camera, the EOS M10, is popular for its ease of use, even for those who are not proficient with a camera! Lesson 5 teaches a one-point bokeh circle technique that even beginners can try out right away for taking nightscapes with Christmas lights beautifully with the EOS M10. Also, learn some useful techniques to deal with camera shake, your arch enemy when shooting night scenes! (Photos by: Takeshi Akaogi, Edited by: Etica)


Make use of bokeh circles and the “Contrast” menu in your shots

Bokeh circles are spherical balls of blurred light that are captured by blurring the light source. (Read more about them in Lens FAQ #8.) When bokeh circles are incorporated into your nightscape shots, they will make your photos appear more magical and lovely. Moreover, using the “Saturation” menu in the Creative Assist function that you learnt about in Lesson 2, will make multi-coloured Christmas lights look even more appealing.


Point 1: How to take bokeh circles

By adjusting the level of background blur in the “Background” menu with the Creative Assist function like you learnt in Lesson 1, you will be able to control how the bokeh in the foreground and background is captured.

The more you adjust the level of background blur in the “Background” menu towards the "Blurred” end, the narrower the focus range will become, thereby making the light sources at the front and back of the focused subject appear as bokeh circles.


EF-M18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM/ Creative Assist/ Background+3

By placing the decorative lights directly in front of the camera and focusing on the people walking in the distance, I managed to blur the lights in front to a great extent and capture them as bokeh circles.


Application:  How to create a full bokeh

There is also a technique to achieve a finish that defocuses the entire picture to highlight the bokeh circles.
First, place your hand slightly in front of the lens to focus on the very near end and then remove your hand while keeping the focus there to try and take a shot with the entire screen defocused. The entire shot will be defocused, creating a soft impression.


EOS M10/ EF-M15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM/ Creative Assist


EOS M10/ EF-M15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM/ Creative Assist


Point 2: Adjust the saturation towards the "Vivid" end to make coloured Christmas lights appear more striking!

If you want to highlight the beauty of multi-coloured Christmas lights, I would recommend increasing the saturation to express the vividness of the colours.

 (Need a refresher on how to do so? Go back to EOS M10 Lesson 2.)

If you set the intensity towards "Vivid" with the Creative Assist function, the colour finishing will generally appear better.



EF-M22mm f/2.0 STM/ Creative Assist/ Brightness±0, Contrast±0, Vivid±0


EF-M22mm f/2.0 STM/ Creative Assist/ Brightness+2, Contrast+2, Vivid+2
The pink and green decorative lights are captured more vividly, and the difference in brightness is larger, achieving an overall finish that looks both sharp and vivid.


Point 3: Countermeasures against camera shake are crucial when shooting in low light conditions!

In low light conditions, the shutter speed will be slowed down in order to achieve a suitable brightness with little light. When the shutter speed slows down, camera shake and blurring of the subject occur easily. It is important to adopt a firm camera posture to prevent camera shake.

Adopt a firm camera posture

Tuck both arms securely to your sides and support the camera with your left hand from the bottom. When you want to extend your arms to take a shot, pull the strap taut  to support and stabilise the camera.

(Here are more tips for preventling camera shake  when shooting in low light.)


Tip: Telephoto end is recommended for the angle of view

Even if you take a shot from the same place, the finishing will vary greatly depending on whether the angle of view (focal distance) of your lens is adjusted to the telephoto end (60mm or more*), or to the wide-angle end (35mm or less*). 

(Read more about the characteristics of different lenses.)

When shooting Christmas lights, I recommend using the telephoto end of your lens. With the perspective compression effect of a telephoto lens, the Christmas light from the front to the back will become more condensed, creating a dense-looking and beautiful shot.

*35mm equivalent value


Shot at 45mm (35mm equivalent value: approx. 72mm)

EOS M10/ EF-M15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM


Shot a 15mm (35mm equivalent value: approx. 24mm)

EOS M10/ EF-M15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM


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EOS M10 Kit (EF-M15-45mm)

A mirrorless camera perfect for beginners as it can be used freely and with ease, just like a smartphone. The Creative Assist function provides easy-to-understand options for finishing effects, which lets users understand the effects without having to know any technical jargon. The body and lens are compact and lightweight, which make it a joy to use as it can be carried around with ease.

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EF-M15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM

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EF-M22mm f/2.0 STM

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Takeshi Akaogi


As a photographer, Akaogi works mainly for magazines and writes books introducing photography and practical tips. He also teaches at photography workshops.




The team behind Japanese camera magazine, “Camera Biyori” as well as numerous other books. Also organizes events and runs the "Tanoshii Camera School", a photography school.