10 Tips to Photographing Fireworks

The 4th of July is here and with that comes celebrations, events, cookouts and FIREWORKS! And who doesn't love fireworks?!? They are so breathtaking and taking a great photograph of an amazing fireworks display can be pretty awesome. We found this great article on Digital Photography School all about tips to photographing fireworks that we wanted to share with you in celebration of the upcoming holiday. 

So sit back, enjoy whatever fireworks show you attend, be safe this July 4th holiday and take some amazing photos. (And feel free to share them with us if you would like)!!!! 

If you like these tips, be sure to get more at Digital Photography School

Photo credit: Deposit Photo - Fireworks Over Saint Louis

Photo credit: Deposit Photo - Fireworks Over Saint Louis

1. Bring A Tripod

You need to make sure you have something that will secure your camera so that it does not move all around when you are trying to take the photos. A tripod will do just that. This is helpful since you will be using longer shutter speeds which will in turn help you to capture the fireworks movement and any movement of the actual camera itself. 

2. Invest In A Remote Release

A remote release will help ensure your camera is completely still while you are photographing fireworks. Another way that works is by using the self timer. 

3. Framing

When you are trying to capture gorgeous fireworks, you need to figure out the best place to aim your camera so you get the best outcome possible. The challenge with fireworks rather than a still object is that you have to aim your camera before the actual fireworks goes off, so you have to anticipate where you think they will be.

A few ways to help do this include: scope out the location early so you can be in the best position possible, make sure your lens view is lined up with the horizon so your photo will be level and figure out beforehand if you want to focus on vertical or horizontal shots.

4. Figure Out Your Focal Length

When photographing fireworks, you have to have your camera pointed to the right part of the sky at the exactly right time and this can be very difficult if you are shooting with a longer focal length while trying to take more tightly cropped shots. It may be nice during a fireworks show to try a few tighter shots. 

5. What Aperture Should You Use

Using aperture in the mid to small range tends to work well when shooting fireworks. Because the light that the fireworks emit is very bright, a slow lens is a good option. Most people think you need to use a fast one to be able to capture them quickly but that is simply not the case.

Photo credit: Deposit Photos

Photo credit: Deposit Photos

6. Shutter Speed

Since fireworks move, the best photos of them are ones that actually capture their movement so you need to have nice long exposure. If you shoot in "bulb" mode, it allows you to keep the shutter open for as long as you hold down the shutter. When using this technique, you hit the shutter as the firework is about to explode and hold it down until it's done exploding. 

Also, remember not to keep your shutter open too long... since fireworks are bright, it does not take much to over expose them. 

7. ISO

It is preferable to shoot at low ISO to ensure the cleanest shots possible. Be sure to stick to ISO 100. 

8. Keep In Mind Your Camera's Flash

If you shoot with your flash, it will really have no impact other than to trick your camera to thinking it needs a short exposure time. The flash only has a reach of a few meters which is not close enough for the fireworks anyway. So, just switch your flash off. 

9. Photograph the Fireworks in Manual Mode

Manual focus and exposure modes will probably give you the best results. If you auto focus in low light, it can be very difficult for many cameras and you will most likely miss shots. Once you set your focus to manual mode, you will not have to change it around during the fireworks show. 

10. Experiment and Track Results

While you are photographing and taking the shots during the fireworks show, be sure to check your results as you go. Once you take a few shots, look at them to make sure they have turned out nicely before moving forward. No need to check after every single shot, but monitoring them every once in a while will help make sure you are getting some quality shots. 

It is also a great time to experiment with different shots during the show. Perhaps capture people sitting and watching the show, or a child in amazement of the beautiful colors overhead. You could even try and get a great shot of the city line with the fireworks included. Anything you try could make for some amazing photos! 

Photo credit: blog.arcsoft.com

Photo credit: blog.arcsoft.com

Be sure to read the original article here and for more awesome industry tips be sure to visit Digital Photography School

Here are a few other great resources you may enjoy:


Enter your info below to know when our next giveaway starts. Coming soon, a chance to win a Canon 5D Mark III or Nikon D800!