7 tips for improving your fireworks photos

Beach2011-6058This Friday is when we as Americans celebrate our freedom and one of the most popular activities will be fireworks, either shooting your own at home or the big fireworks displays we have available throughout Northwest Arkansas. This article has great tips for shooting fireworks with a DSLR, but for those with a point and shoot (digital or otherwise) or even a great camera phone, here are some tips for getting the best out of your fireworks photos.

Capture the scene around the fireworks including fellow viewers and the skyline. It not only enhances the picture but gives perspective on how high the fireworks are in the sky.
Capture the scene around the fireworks including fellow viewers and the skyline. It not only enhances the picture but gives perspective on how high the fireworks are in the sky.

 

7 tips for improving your fireworks photos

  • Use something stationary like a tripod or a railing to stabilize the camera. Even the slightest natural tremor from your hands and arms would be noticeable in the pictures (especially because it’s at night).
  • Turn off your flash. It will make the picture too bright for close up shots when your kids are using sparklers near you and using it for the fireworks in the sky won’t allow for the right exposure for something that far away.
  • Include the scenery with the fireworks such as people watching the fireworks, water, landscape, etc. This could also include getting photos of fireworks before they are shot off.
  • Use the fireworks mode on your camera if it is available. This is different than night mode. For fireworks you want a lower ISO, longer shutter speed and a small aperture which is why tip number one is important. For a night setting or auto mode your camera will take the photo at a larger ISO and aperture so you won’t get the sharpness you will want on the burst. If your camera has the ability to adjust these settings (a growing number of point and shoot cameras do), I would suggest making those adjustments.
  • Take a lot of photos and check to see if the photos are turning out okay during the fireworks show. Are you snapping the photo too soon or too late? Adjust your timing and focal point to adapt to what you want to change in the photos.
  • Check the direction of the wind and shoot upwind. Smoke from the fireworks can get in the way of a great photo.
  • Have fun with your pictures and experiment. You may want to play with some funky images when everything is blurry and showing great movement blur.
Don't forget to get pictures of the fireworks before they are beautiful explosions in the sky!
Don’t forget to get pictures of the fireworks before they are beautiful explosions in the sky!

One more thing: if you’re shooting off fireworks on your own, please be sure to follow all safety precautions. Safety is always more important than getting great home fireworks photos.

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