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Photography Tips for Fireworks

by Erin Peloquin on July 2, 2010 · 4 comments

Is photography on your agenda for those of you in the states this holiday weekend? Last year was the first time I put serious effort into photographing fireworks.  This year, I’m going to incorporate everything I learned into the my photo workflow:

  • Use a tripod. This is the key to crisp photos at night.  Using long shutter speeds means you will get more blur just from holding the camera with your hands.  Using a tripod will eliminate this camera shake.
  • Shutter Speed – the longer the better to capture light trails.
  • Bulb Mode – an easy way to control shutter speed. Set your camera mode to B and hold down the shutter button from the time you first see the firework.  Release the shutter button when the firework dissipates.  Or when the smoke starts – that’s a sure way to muddy up your image and reduce clarity.
  • ISO – as low as possible to avoid noise.
  • Aperture – use a medium to high number to get an aperture opening on the smaller side of the scale.  Using long shutter speeds will give you enough light to offset a low ISO and small aperture
  • I’m going to try, depending on my location and lens, to get a few really zoomed in shots like the one in this Digital Photography School article.
  • In the same DPS article, a reader described a technique of using a black foam core board to get multiple fireworks in one exposure.  If I’m feeling good about the way my shots are turning out, I’m going to try that more advanced method.  Have any of you ever done that?  Do you have any tips for me?
  • Read this page from Canon about fireworks photography tips. It’s very helpful!

Regardless of where you are, I hope you have a great weekend!  Make sure to link to your photos here if you get some good ones, and share your secret tips too!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

bjc July 2, 2010 at 11:44 am

saw on the canon link that the same effect with the black foam board would work with a dark baseball cap…and that may be simplier to lug around …just wear it on your head ! thanks for all these tips and links and happy 4th

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Patty Reiser July 2, 2010 at 1:48 pm

I had not heard about this trick with the black foam board. I will have to look into that. I am looking forward to photographing some fireworks this year because I sucked at it last year. This year I will definitely be using a tripod and I have a remote release to avoid camera shake. I’m also going to try a new trick I read about. And that is to shoot in manual focus and change the focus ring while you have the shutter open. The demo pictures showed some interesting shots of fireworks. If it turns out, I will definitely be blogging about it next week.
Wishing everyone a wonderfully safe 4th of July weekend!

Celebrate Life and Capture It!
Patty

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