Photographing Fireworks

How to Photograph Fireworks

Tomorrow on the Fourth of July many will go out to enjoy the fireworks display. Many others will try to take a few shots of the fireworks. So, here are a few thoughts on photographing fireworks:

First things first, the day (or a couple of days) before you go out to photograph–fireworks or any other subject for that matter–make sure you charge your batteries, clean your camera sensor (assuming you shoot digital), back up your images from your memory cards and only then format your memory cards, prepare your lenses, have your tripod handy, and, if you own one, have a remote shutter release handy, too. Also, check the weather, scout out the place to make sure you find the best spot from where to photograph the fireworks display, and so on.

NYC 4th of July fireworks.

Fourth of July Fireworks in NYC. Photo by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.

What you’ll usually need in order to photograph fireworks:

– a camera body and lens(es), obviously

– a tripod (or a monopod; if not, you can try to increase the ISO a lot, today’s cameras can usually handle that easily without increasing the noise)

– remote shutter release

Fourth of July fireworks in NYC. Photo by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.

Fourth of July fireworks in NYC. Photo by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.

Ideas on how to photograph fireworks:

– arrive early and set up tripod, camera, lens, etc.

– a good place to start when it comes to camera settings can be:

ISO = native ISO for your camera

Shutter Speed = BULB (manual shutter release or try 1s – 3s exposures, experiment)

Aperture = f/11 – f/16 – when shooting fireworks it is dark outside, but the fireworks are bright; to capture details in the fireworks display, you might want to use a narrow aperture somewhere between, as mentioned, f/11 and f/16, but you can also experiment with f/8, although, at f/8, depending on the brightness of the fireworks, you might end up with slightly overexposed images, but you can adjust that by decreasing the exposure (shutter speed) or, if not totally overexposed, you can bring back details in the highlights in post (yes, I said that); I think the key word here is experiment, there is time, the fireworks display usually lasts for about half hour; and while mentioning experimentation, you can also try zooming in/out while the shutter button is pressed.

– zoom out to capture the overall scene (fireworks and surrounding buildings, nature, etc) to give a sense of setting, place

Fourth of July fireworks display in NYC. Photo by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.

Fourth of July fireworks display in NYC. Photo by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.

– zoom in to capture closeups or fireworks

Photographing the fireworks display in Liberty State Park. Photo by Alina Oswald. #tbt

– if possible, include people or buildings silhouetted by fireworks light

Holland Tunnel and 4th of July fireworks. Photo by Alina Oswald.

Holland Tunnel and 4th of July fireworks. Photo by Alina Oswald.

Fourth of July fireworks in NYC. Photo by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.

Fourth of July fireworks in NYC photographed against Verrazano Bridge. Photo by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.

Fourth of July and Lady Liberty. Photo by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.

Fourth of July and Lady Liberty. Photo by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.

4th of July Fireworks. A Closer Look. Photo by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.

4th of July Fireworks. A Closer Look. Photo by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.

Have a safe and Happy Fourth of July!

And as always, thanks for stopping by!

Alina Oswald

  1. Lovely pictures. Thank you for the tips!

    Like

    Reply

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words. Happy Fourth! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

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