If you happen to be in Japan during the winter months, one of the visual delights of the season is the winter illuminations.

In recent years, they have become important tourist spots in some places, with large-scale decorations attracting much attention.

Beautiful illuminations are also beautiful to photograph.

However, taking good pictures that really capture their beauty is easier said than done. Some smartphones have a custom setting for illuminations, but what if you're relying on a digital camera?

Japanese YouTube channel 「star view studio 〜カメラで人生を楽しく〜」 (star view studio - Enjoy your life with a camera), operated by photographer コウ Ko, has the perfect video for this scenario.

Even if you're not very experienced in photography, his tips will help you not only take the best shots of the winter illuminations on the spot but also end up with the best images in Adobe Lightroom or whatever photo app you like to use.

When it comes to the camera lens, Ko recommends a wide-angle or a standard zoom lens. Moreover, a tripod makes night photography easier.

Since cameras have a variety of functions, beginners tend to leave everything to auto mode. However, Ko explains, it's not always possible to capture the best images of these beautiful illuminations in auto mode.

Instead, he recommends shooting in manual mode and adjusting the shutter speed and aperture.

When shooting without the aid of a tripod, he recommends using the smallest aperture possible and a shutter speed 1 to 2 times the focal length to get the best results.

When using a tripod, he recommends keeping the aperture (f) between 5.6 and 11.

If you want to see streaking car lights in your shot, you can go for a larger aperture.

Digital cameras can generally save images as JPEG or RAW files. JPEG files have the advantage of being smaller, allowing you to save more of them in your camera's storage media, but they're not ideal for editing later.

RAW files are larger, but are ideal for editing later, allowing you much greater freedom to create the effect and mood you want.

Koh recommends taking photos in RAW format, even if you're a beginner since you'll be more likely to end up with the image that you want.

In the video, Ko provides many useful editing tips (using Adobe Lightbox). Beginners who try taking photos in RAW sometimes wonder what to do with the images, but if you follow these tips, you should be able to create wonderful images from your winter illumination photos.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.