• kenneth atlas

How to Photograph Fireworks

Updated: Jul 25, 2018

by Jon Pine

Today we introduce a new feature – the Digital Artist Workshops Tip of the Week. This week's tip: How to Photograph Fireworks. Just in time for Independence Day!

1. Use a sturdy tripod. You will shoot at slow shutter speeds for long exposures and, try as you might, you aren’t going to be able to hold your camera steady enough by hand.

2. Set your camera to Manual mode, set it to manual focus, and select ISO 100. Even though you’re shooting at night, fireworks give off a lot of light. Using a higher ISO will overexpose your images.

3. Use a remote-release or your camera’s self-timer.

4. Choose a zoom lens with wide focal lengths – i.e. 18-55mm. Once the show begins you’ll need to zoom in or out to get the proper framing.

5. Choose a medium to high aperture – f8.0 or higher. This way you can set the manual focus to infinity and have enough depth of focus so that the fireworks will be in focus. As you start shooting you can fine-tune the focus slightly, if necessary.

6. Now comes the tricky part – finding the best shutter speed. Remember – fireworks are moving objects, so you will want to find a shutter speed that is slow enough to capture the entire length of the “blooms.” Shutter speeds from 10 seconds to 60 seconds or more may be necessary, depending on how bright the light is coming from the fireworks. If your camera doesn't have a shutter setting slow enough, use the "Bulb" setting and count the seconds manually.

Finding the best settings will be trial and error. If at first your exposures are too dark, slow down the shutter, and vice-versa. Bigger fireworks clusters, of course, will throw off more light. Adjust the aperture, too. Experiment. And most importantly, HAVE FUN!

We hope you find this week’s tip helpful. Please follow our page to make sure you don’t miss future Tips, as well as announcements of upcoming workshops and seminars. Happy Fourth of July everyone!

Photo © BigFoto.com

— celebrating 4th of July.

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