Top 5 Fireworks Photo Tips

Tomorrow night is the big night to light up the sky! Time to brush up on how to photograph fireworks!

I’ve written about photographing fireworks a good bit over the years because it is one of my favorite subjects to photograph. Here are my top 5 favorite fireworks photo tips.

Top 5 Fireworks Photo Tips, www.lizmasoner.wordpress.com

Top 5 Fireworks Photo Tips, http://www.lizmasoner.wordpress.com

  1. Take Control
    Turn your camera to manual. Fireworks are a time for you to take control. Use a slow film speed for maximum clarity (less grain/noise), dial down the aperture for a great depth of field, and set your shutter for several seconds to give shells time to draw their designs in the sky. And remember, it is better to slightly underexpose than overexpose and loose all the colors.

    Suggested starting settings
    Aperture/FStop: 14
    Film Speed: 100
    Shutter Speed: 3 Seconds

    Finale with shell barrage
    Aperture/FStop: 18
    Film Speed: 100
    Shutter Speed: 2 Seconds

  2. Be Rock Steady
    You don’t HAVE to have a tripod to shoot fireworks but you do have to have a rock steady spot for your camera to rest. No car hoods, no hand holding, no setting it in your lap. Tripods, large bean bags, anything that is not going to move or vibrate will ensure you have smooth lines in your fireworks photos instead of jagged squiggles. Also, if you don’t use a remote trigger, be very gentle when you press the shutter button so you don’t shake the camera any more than is unavoidable.
  3. Find the Rhythm
    It doesn’t matter how awesome you are as a photographer if you take photos of blank skies. Find the rhythm of the fireworks. When you hear/feel the percussion of the shell being fired, count until the beginning of the explosion. Then you’ll know when to trip the shutter so you capture the firework and not empty sky.
  4. Pick an Awesome Location
    Great fireworks photos don’t have power lines running across them. Take some time before the fireworks to find a spot with a clear view of the sky and any landmarks you want in the photo with the fireworks.
  5. Be Prepared
    Remember your emergency kit. Extra batteries (for cameras/remotes/flashlights), a flashlight with red lens (so you don’t kill your night vision), a comfy chair, and bug spray (mosquitoes seem to view photographers as a delicacy).
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