How to Shoot Amazing Fireworks Photographs

Special events like New Year’s Eve and Independence Day provides an opportunity to take fireworks photographs.

It is during these times of the year when the night sky lights up with a myriad of pyrotechnics display that will look great on any image, given if it’s taken in a correct manner since fireworks photography is a tricky one.

Here are some tips on how to shoot amazing fireworks images using different cameras. You may also like to check Fireworks Photography Tips.

Shooting with a point-and-shoot Camera

A point and shoot camera that comes with many scene modes makes shooting fireworks easier. Just set your camera shooting mode to “Fireworks” and your camera will automatically make proper adjustments such as a slower shitter speed that will help you properly shoot the light trails produced by fireworks explosion. Since the shutter speed is slower than the usual, you will need a tripod to prevent blur and shake. No tripod? No problem just put your camera on a steady surface such as a chair, a table, car hood or any firm tops. Other steadying gears such as beanbags with a built in mounting tripod screw is very useful also.

fireworks photography

 Shooting with a Digital SLR

For DLSR users it is advisable to set your camera on manual control in order to achieve more creativity. When you’re photographing fireworks at night, bear in mind that the aperture controls mostly the illumination of the lights, while the shutter speed controls how lengthy the light trails will show on your image. For starters, you can start with a setting of f/8 aperture and a shutter speed of 2 seconds. Review your image after and if you prefer brighter fireworks, adjust the aperture by lowering the f number. If the image is overexposed, then adjust the aperture by increasing the f-number. You can achieve a lot of creativity when shooting fireworks, experiment with the different shutter speed and aperture opening.

fireworks photography

Shooting Fireworks with a Smartphone

The question everyone seems wanting to ask: Can you shoot decent fireworks photographs using a smartphone? The answer is no and yes. The smart phones in the market today aren’t properly equipped with fireworks shooting settings. Smartphones does not provide features that can control the shutter speed and the aperture and are only suitable for taking snapshots and not light trails such as the one produced by fireworks. However, mobile apps can help you capture fairly decent fireworks images, apps such as Top Camera allows your camera to shoot with a slower shutter speed. Since smartphone camera is more susceptible to camera shake, make sure to hold your smartphone with enough stability to avoid movement when shooting fireworks.

Other Tips

Setting your camera to a “Bulb” setting, just like the one star gazers use to photograph star trails in the sky can capture fireworks just the way you see it in the sky. Using this setting allows you to set when the aperture starts and stops. Just be mindful of the occurrence of overexposure once you leave the aperture open longer than required. Always check your images afterward and make proper adjustments as far as aperture speed is concerned.

Also remember to set your ISO to the lowest setting at about 100 so you can minimize the image noise which becomes more obvious on images taken with long exposures. It is also better if your camera comes with a noise-reduction feature, just turn it to ‘On’ and you can have lesser noise on your fireworks photographs.

I hope you have learned a lot from this short but important fireworks photography tips. Next time you celebrate Independence Day and New Year’s Eve, I’m pretty sure you will be able to capture amazing fireworks images. Check Fireworks Photography Tips for more tips.


About Kristine Buenavista

Tin oftentimes takes her folding bike and old camera along country roads. Sometimes, she forgets to take pictures (though she never forgets when she finds great photos elsewhere). She narrates through words and images here. Travel, creativity, laughter, cerveza negra, scavenge hunt for beauty, starry-windy nights are among the things that make her feel weightless.

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