On special occasions, one of the most breathtaking spectacles you’ll ever see is a fireworks display. Standing with your friends and family as you watch bursts of colors explode in the sky can be so exciting and memorable. Although it may be tricky to capture these colorful moments, it’s not impossible. Whether your using a professional camera or iPhone, these simple steps will guarantee that oh-so-perfect photo of the spectacular fireworks.
Preparation is Key
The early bird gets the worm. Cities across the nation put on some of the best fireworks shows for the Fourth of July and New Years Eve. With popular shows come the biggest crowds, so make sure you head over to the site early to ensure a great vantage point of the fireworks display. To do that, try these simple preparation tips.
Scout your spot: If you find a spot not too close to the firework display, you’ll want to position yourself so that you’ll be capturing the fireworks at about a 45-degree angle.
Use a tripod: Invest in a tripod so your shots aren’t blurred by movement. When shooting fireworks, exposures may last several seconds, so immobility becomes a major factor in the clarity of the photo.
Consider wind direction: Avoid smoke resulting from the fireworks by researching the predicted wind direction during the time you’ll be shooting and make certain you’ll be upwind. Remember, the first explosions will give the sharpest and least-smoky pictures.
Test the focus: If your camera allows manual focus, take a few shots before the show starts and check them for quality rather than wait until the explosions begin.
Using a Digital Camera
One of the most important tricks to photographing fireworks is making certain your camera is pointing in the right direction. You just need to pay attention to a few details.
Turn off Flash: Like smartphones, flash use results in a distracting glare in your photos.
Aperture settings: Shooting with aperture between f/8 to f/16 generally gives the best results.
Shutter speed: First set your camera to ‘bulb’ mode, which allows for timed exposures based on changing conditions, perfect for fireworks shots.
Stick to low ISO: You want your shots to be clean and crisp, so keeping to ISO 100 is usually recommended.
Go with manual mode: In manual mode you are able to control the exposure and aperture yourself. A recommended starting point is ISO 100, f/11, at ½ second.
Choose the right lens: If you want a tight shot that shows detail, use a zoom lens that goes to at least 200mm.
Shooting with Your iPhone
When using your iPhone to shoot fireworks, it's important to remember that iPhone cameras love low-light and quick shots. Use these iPhone camera tips to capture the show.
Turn off the flash: This will eliminate distracting glares. Flash use can easily affect the quality of the photos others are taking around you.
Lock Focus on the Screen: By tapping on the screen above the fireworks to lock its focus, your photo will come out much clearer.
Try long exposure: For cool light trail effects, try a long exposure app and make sure to hold the phone still while taking the photo.
Use burst mode. Holding down the capture button will allow you to take a burst of consecutive photos to capture the moving fireworks.
With a little practice and some pre-planning, you can capture your next fireworks show in gorgeous photos suitable for framing and sharing. Apply a bit of editing, then share your awesome fireworks photos with the world.