If you Google ‘how to take photos of fireworks’, you’ll find hundreds of pages full of tips. A lot of them are quite similar and mostly very helpful. ‘Use a tripod’, ‘use a remote shutter release’, ‘shoot manual’, ‘use a slow shutter speed’ and ‘focus manually’ are the most common – and practically, they are most important things. Here are a few extra tips that will hopefully take the level of your fireworks photos up a notch:
- Know Your Gear! More important than knowing what settings you should start with, is knowing what to change if you’re not getting the results you want. When you review your image, you should know what you need to change (namely shutter speed, aperture & ISO) and HOW to do that on your camera. This leads to the second point…
- Constantly re-evaluate. By its very nature, shooting in manual mode (recommended) takes control away from the camera and puts it in your hands. You must continually review your photos, make adjustments, shoot again, then repeat all that.
- Photograph the excitement, not the fireworks. The most interesting fireworks photos I’ve seen are those that capture not only the actual fireworks, but the atmosphere and magnitude of the event. Try and include people, buildings, bridges, trees or reflections when composing your shot.
- Try bulb mode. Often shutter speeds of anywhere between 2-10 seconds are best for fireworks. An alternative to pre-setting the shutter speed is to shoot in Bulb Mode, where the sensor stays exposed for as long as you hold down the shutter button. This means you can capture the full tail of the explosion, – NOT the beginning of the next one.
- Shoot RAW. RAW files contain a whole lot more data than JPEGs and therefore give you a better capacity to enhance your shots in post processing.
- Take a comfy chair and whatever else you need to relax and have fun!
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