2016 is almost here and it is a good time to take a look at some cool ways for using those holiday lights for creative portrait photography which is exactly what Daniel Norton from Adorama demonstrates in this video.
If you want to create an interesting portrait with some nice out of focus colors in the background, using holiday lights is a great way of doing that. You will need one or two stips of colored lights (preferably the non LED types although they might work – depending on the specific type).
Now what you need to understand is that in order to get an out of focus look you need the model to be as far away as possible from the background (and closer to the camera – not too close as the image might be distorted or will just not look right for a portrait). The next thing to realize is that the more you open the aperture of your lens the larger the out of focus points of light will look. Norton demonstrate this in the video. Of course if you use a lens which is very fast you might not necessary like the shape of the out of focus points of light – depending on the specific lens that you use (each lens has a different bokeh).
Another thing that you can do is put a light source in front of your model – not too close so it will still be out of focus but not too close to the camera as to be distracting – the resulting image can look pretty special and it is very easy to achieve!