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Photographing Fireworks

It’s that exciting time of year again, Fourth of July.  Time to get some great photos of fireworks.  Here are a few tips from a recent article from Digital Photography School.

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1.) Use a Tripod:  A tripod is critical when shooting fireworks because you will be using longer shutter speeds to capture the movement of the fireworks.  But you must keep the camera still so that you do not capture the movement of the camera.

2.) Remote Shutter Release: Having a remote shutter release helps to eliminate any movement of the camera.  Do some research online to find the right accessory for your camera.  If you do not have a remote shutter release, try using the camera’s self-timer.  This is a tricky way to go, but if the fireworks are going off fast and furious, you should be able to capture a few good shots.

3.) Frame Your Shot: Sounds so basic, but how do you frame a shot when you haven’t seen the subject yet?  Do some planning.  Get to the firework location early so that you can find a good, unobstructed view point to setup your camera and tripod.  Have your lenses, background and foreground picked out before the fireworks start going off.  Have your desired focal lengths planned out.  It’s harder to take zoomed in / tight shots, but if you have your lens trained on the right part of the sky, you just might catch a great burst of color up close.

4.) Aperture: Fireworks emit a whole lot of light.  So you don’t need a fast lens.  Digital Photography School recommends shooting between an f/8 to f/16.Fireworks 2

5.) Shutter Speed: If you have a ‘bulb’ setting on your camera you may want to use that.  This setting allows you to manually hold the shutter open (with a remote shutter release) from the moment the firework is launched until it bursts in the sky.  Usually a few seconds of open shutter speed.  If you don’t have a remote shutter release or the ‘bulb’ setting then you can set the shutter speed to be open between 1 and 6 seconds, depending on the height of the burst.  Fireworks are bright, so be careful not to over expose.

6.) ISO: Set the ISO to 10o and things should go beautifully.

7.) No Flash Required: Let the fireworks light up your foreground, background and night sky.

8.) Manual Mode:  This is the best way to control your shot because you have complete control of you are doing all the thinking for your camera.  Manual exposure and manual focus.

9.) The Early Bird Catches The Best Shots:  Fireworks emit a lot of smoke and haze.  So get your shots in early to avoid obstruction from this unavoidable side effect.

Happy shooting and have a safe and happy Fourth of July everyone!

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Nedra Stanovich says:

Pretty insightful post. Never thought that it was this simple after all. I had spent a good deal of my time looking for someone to explain this subject clearly and you’re the only one that ever did that. Kudos to you! Keep it up

I wanted to thank you for this excellent read!! I definitely enjoyed every little bit of it. I have you bookmarked your site to check out the new stuff you post.

Kim says:

Very very helpful tips!! Can’t wait to try it out!

Andrew says:

You must have seen my past photos of fireworks. I could write the post on how NOT too photograph fireworks. Seriously, this is very helpful.

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