Shootin’ Fireworks!

After the fourth of July, camera clubs everywhere swarm with photos of fireworks. Some are great, some were accidents and some… well… need a little help. Read on for some tips on getting AWESOME firework photos!

To get photos like THESE:

Do THIS:

  • For the love of all that is holy and sacred, TAKE A TRIPOD! Or a beanbag or something to keep your camera steady and still while you are photographing your fireworks. You want to get nice light trails, not zig-zaggy lines that you can’t tell what it is. If it’s going to be a crowded area with lots of people walking by, consider a nice, compact carbon fiber tripod to reduce vibrations from the horde.
  • Your timer is your friend. Set your self-timer to 2 seconds, press your shutter button and take a step back. This will eliminate any camera movement from you pressing your shutter button.
  • BETTER YET! Get a remote shutter release! Wired or wireless, these little guys will let you shoot in BULB mode without the worry of camera movement. A wireless shutter will let you chill out in your lawn chair and enjoy the fireworks in person while you snap away 😉
  • Wide angle… or telephoto? The choice is ENTIRELY yours! Use your wide when you want to include a bit of the scene with the shot or are close to the action. Use the tele if you got nosebleed seats or if you want an awesome closeup of the fireworks.
  • Pick a good spot. Location will help with your photos. Don’t get so close you’ll be hanging out in a thick cloud of smoke by the time the third rocket is set off and be sure there is something interesting you can include in some of your images to vary up the monotony of “fireworks against black sky”.
  • Keep that ISO low! You will be shooting long-ish exposures, at night, with no other light than the fireworks. Keeping your ISO low will ensure nice sharp photos without a lot of noise.
  • Finally, remember that photos are important. Photos are awesome. But take a few minutes to observe and appreciate the beauty of explosives being fired into the air. It’s great to get photos, but it’s AWESOME to experience things first hand with your own 2 eyes.
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