Some tips for photographing fireworks.

July 04, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

 

 
Happy July 4th!
 
A lot of my American friends (and even some German ones) will be going out to watch fireworks tonight and some have asked me how to photograph them.  Here are a few tips to help get a good shot.
 
1.  Be sure to use a tripod.  You will be making a relatively long exposure and any movement of the camera will  blur it.  A tripod will help ensure the camera is stable.
 
2.  Be sure to aim at the right part of the sky.  Plan ahead and try to determine where the fireworks will be exploding.  Be sure that you are not zoomed in so much that you miss that area.  Sometimes it's hard to guess, and it's hard to tell through the viewfinder, so you might have to quickly adjust during the first few seconds of the show.
 
3.  Shoot in Manual.  This is one situation where you definitely have to take charge.  Don't let the camera do the thinking for you!
 
4.  Set your ISO low.  People think that because it is night, they need a high ISO.  That's really not true since you are photographing small explosions that produce a lot of light.  A high ISO will blow out the highlights.
 
5.  Shutter speed.  I like to use a shutter speed of a few seconds to capture the motion and help ensure I have at least one good burst in the frame.  
 
6.  Frame the shot.  Try to get an interesting composition.  A shot of the night sky with fireworks blowing up is interesting, but if you also have an interesting background like a city skyline or mountain in the background, it will probably look a lot more interesting.
 
7.  Experiment.  A fireworks show lasts several minutes, so you have time to make different adjustments and experiment.   
 
8.  Don't get hung up on the photos!  Remember, this shouldn't be work, it should be a fun event.  Don't stress if it's not perfect.  Enjoy the show!!!
 
Let me know how it goes!
 
Until next time, good light and good luck!
 
David

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