Fireworks Photography Tips

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4th of July is tomorrow, and i'm sure many of you are planning on tackling some fireworks photography. There's a couple of ways to go about this, but in either case I suggest going with a tripod. One method is to try and capture what you see. Open up the Aperture, speed up the shutter, and boost the ISO. You'll get a few images, but this is not really the preferred method for cliche Fireworks photography.

The better method is to drag the shutter. Let's start with the some basic settings. If you're shooting with a DSLR or Point and Shoot that offers manual controls, go Full Manual. Throw that sucker on a solid Tripod, you'll need it. If you have a shutter remote, use it for even sharper images. Bring a good wide lens or at least a lens that can offer both wide and zoom. You don't need a fancy lens, since you'll set the aperture to at least F/8-F/11 to make sure things fall in focus and the image will look sharp. Next keep the ISO low so that you don't introduce too much noise. Final and most important piece is to try long exposures by setting your shutter to stay open for at least 2 seconds or maybe a bit longer. Think of Fireworks in the same manner as Light Painting. For light painting you'll keep your shutter open for at least a few seconds so that you can capture the path of light being traced into the sky.

Want to try something a bit more advanced? Leave your shutter open for 30 seconds (or use bulb mode for longer exposures). Leaving your shutter open will continue to bring in light, so to keep your image from being too overexposed, place a black piece of cloth or cardboard over the lens 'in between fireworks'. Very important to cover up the lens while there isn't anything happening in the sky. What will happen is you'll end up with a full image of various fireworks all captured in one. The image samples above are probably representative of that technique. If I get to a spot with a good view, i'll try my hand this year and post it. Let me know what you guys come up with.

3 thoughts on “Fireworks Photography Tips

  1. This is a highly insightful photo web site, you've made a great job presenting the info with a straightforward to grasp way. There are some good points which happen to have helped me personally and I am sure, a good many others too. I am anticipating looking at some more helpful superbly written articles. Maybe you could be a guest blogger on other good web sites?

  2. James Tsukamoto

    Heading out in a few minutes to take some shots. I'll try a variety of settings and hopefully post back here.

  3. Mark D

    what I like to do is shoot in bulb mode. From the point you see/hear the first boom start the shutter and then once the firework has done its thing then let off the shutter button. I tried this last year and it had awesome results. If they end up being too overexposed you can also always draw it back in photoshop. I had to do this immensely with a couple shots but they came out amazing in the end

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