Tips for Photographing Fireworks

Tonight after the parades, barbecues, watermelon,  and various celebrations of the independence of our country; there will be spectacular fireworks displays everywhere.  Capturing fireworks isn't nearly as difficult as some would think when you remember a few simple tricks.  

Turn off the flash, remember you are taking a photo of light so there is no need to add extra light.

Use a tripod or get your camera on a stable surface.  If you don't have a tripod a large bean bag actually works really well.

Set your focus to infinity in manual focus, or on a distant light in auto focus, then switch to manual focus for the rest of the fireworks show.

Start on Manual with the ISO 100, F10 at 3 seconds.  

You will need to adjust your settings as the fireworks begin to really lock int the perfect settings.  The first ones are usually the least interesting so you have time to get things the way you like.  Settings from 3-8 seconds and F10-16 are usually right in the range.  This will allow you to get multiple burst in each shot.  

Remember it is better to be a little under exposed here since once your highlights are blown, they can't be recovered.

Try to fill your frame and remember, the fireworks tend to bigger, and higher the longer the show goes on.  Sometimes it is good to fill the frame with just the explosion and trails and other time you want something else in the photo besides the exploding firework to give perspective and set the scene.  Take some shots both ways.

Turn off auto Noise-Reduction.  When this is on your camera will take extra time to get rid of noise after each shot and you'll miss some cool bursts.

There you go that will get you started and you will have some great shots if you take a few moments to get things set up.  

Happy 4th of July.


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