Fireworks shows will light up the sky with dazzling displays this Independence Day. Most firework shows that I have attended last between 8 and 15 minutes. These shows fly by fast.
I’ve also noticed my best pictures come at the start of the show. Why? There’s not a lot of smoke at the beginning of the show; however, as more and more fireworks go off, the smoke gets thicker and thicker.
Here are my favorite tips for photographing fireworks with a DSLR camera.
Location, Location, Location: Fireworks shows get crowded. You want to position yourself, so people don’t get in the way of your shot. Get there early and find your spot.
It’s best to position yourself a little distance away from people. You’ll want a clear line of vision! You’ll want to be shooting at fireworks not up at fireworks.
Try to include a building, tree, landmark, river or skyline in your shot. This makes the shot more interesting to your viewer.
Use a Tripod: Since you will be photographing fireworks using a slow shutter speed, you will need a sturdy tripod. If you don’t use a tripod, your pictures will probably be blurry.
Use a Remote Shutter Release: If you can, use a remote shutter release. This will help you avoid camera shake from pressing the shutter button. If you don’t have one, just gently press your shutter release button.
Camera Settings: Now the fun begins.
• Use your cameras’ manual mode.
• Use a small aperture. Experiment with a setting between F8 and F16. (If you use a larger aperture, chances are you will over expose the picture.)
• Experiment with shutter speeds between 2 seconds and 11 seconds.
• Use low ISO settings. Start with an ISO setting of between 64-200. As you go above 200, your picture will get grainy.
• Find a distant building or object to focus on. I like to focus at infinity if possible.
Extra! Extra!: Have a spare battery and an extra card.
Photographing fireworks is a ton of fun. Don’t get discouraged. Just keep practicing. Email us your favorite pictures at firstname.lastname@example.org!