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Tips for photographing fireworks

December 31, 2016


Tips for Photographing Fireworks

It’s that time of the year again when the champagne corks will pop, kisses are shared, resolutions are made and the fireworks will explode!

So, you have your camera in hand now how on earth do you photograph all those colours of light in the sky?

There’s no great trick to it and usually no matter what type of camera you have you can capture something.
Here’s our top 10 tips for capturing brilliant images of fireworks:

  • Position, Position, Position Location is the key. Areas can get very busy especially at times like New Year Eve and it’s not unheard of to hear of photographers ‘camping’ on a site for a day before the event to secure a prime sought after position. A rule of thumb is higher is generally better.
  • Use a tripod The tripod head needs to be able to support your camera and the heaviest lens you wish to use in a vertical position. If you forget your tripod try some hand holding abstract images: drawing with the camera shapes and letters, zooming in and out during an exposure, the options are endless and can create some bizarre one-of-a-kind images. If your lens/camera has IS or VR turn it off when on a tripod.
  • Use a cable release or remote control Avoid any form of camera shake and control the shutter opening time to the firework burst for the optimum image.c
  • Form your composition – it does matter
    Think about what you want to portray in the scene and take the time to look around your image area and ask yourself do you really need it? Don’t let unnecessary items clutter your image! This is where lens selection comes into play.
  • Which lens? Choosing which lens can be difficult but you have to work out what you are using before. Each lens has negatives and positives. With a wide angle you can include other points of interest like a landscape or cityscape in your image. An object that is recognisable such as a statue or monument can really look awesome.With a zoom you can capture one burst standing solitary in the sky and eliminate other objects that could become distracting like bright lights or even worse the backs of people’s heads.r img_5319_web
  • Know the wind direction It is preferable to get upwind as then smoke will blow away from you. A still night can be as bad as those when the wind is blowing towards you, as the smoke lingers longer in the air and is notably worse after multiple bursts. You can always edit afterwards but it can also be a lot of work.1
  • Focusing Look for an area of contrast and pre-focus then turn auto focus off.
  • Exposure = ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed – it’s often the hardest part so here is the recipe: Shoot in Manual Mode; ISO 200; Shutter Speed:bulb; Aperture: Start at f/8 – 16Be willing to exposure compensate using your aperture and shutter to get the correct exposure.picture1
  • What colours are best? Reds and greens photograph brilliantly. Some gold fireworks photograph as white so it’s a good idea to play with your white balance as well.
  • Take your UV filter and any other filters off.
  • Experiment and have fun!Most importantly keep your photography fun and if you have managed to do all the above whilst juggling a glass of bubbly in one hand after the midnight show, then please let us know
  • IMG_5319_web

    What went wrong?


    Answer: F4.5; 1/15th Sec; ISO 1600

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