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Photographing Fireworks

2013-06-27 22:10:00 GMT

With Canada Day and Independence Day (depending what side of the North American border you live on) just around the corner, we thought this would be the perfect opportunity to share some tips for photographing fireworks.

Here are 5 things to try while you’re out celebrating this week:

Keep your camera still. This is the number 1 rule to capturing a great firework display! The best practice would be to use a tripod and a remote release. Touching your camera adds shake and will blur your image. If you don’t have a remote release the self timer will work as well.

Aperture. A common misconception with photographing fireworks is that you need a fast lens to get them! But this is not true, fireworks emite a lot of bright light. Apertures in the mid to small range tend to work best, around f/8 and f/16.

Shutter Speed. This is equally as important as aperture, if not more! To get the full effect you’ll want to use a slow shutter speed. Often photographers choose to use the Bulb mode, allowing them to control the shutter manually (best to use with a remote release). Press the shutter as the firework is launching and hold it down until the blast has faded away, typically a few seconds.

No Flash! The flash works best to light the few feet in front of you. This isn’t the most beneficial when trying to capture fireworks! So, turn off your flash and set your camera to Manual mode. Adjust the aperture and ISO and shoot away. If you notice your images are looking a little dim, vary your shutter speed without changing the aperture.

Focal Length. It’s hard to focus your camera at the right part of the sky and at the right time, especially when there is so much going on around you. Try using a wider focal length and zoom in for a few shots. There is always the opportunity to crop your images during post production to create the tight bright impact you are hoping for.

Vertical or Horizontal? Portrait or landscape? Both work for firework photography, just depends what style you are going for. If you want to have the horizon in the image or a cityscape etc. you’re best to be horizontal. Vertical is always fun too because fireworks naturally have the upward motion and you can really focus on the firework itself.


Photo courtesy of Rallygallery.com


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