4 Fabulous Fireworks Photography TipsTomek Sysak
Don’t let your fireworks photos go up in smoke!
When you’re out for a night of pyrotechnic thrill, you may want to capture something to show your family and friends. So here are a few quick tips from the Corel Discovery Center to get amazing shots on your night out. Otherwise, your attempts at fireworks photography may turn out like wisps of grey on a black background.
So what do you need to know?
Early Bird Gets the Fireworks
If you want to get great photos to share with family and friends, try shooting as soon as the fireworks start.
As the show goes on, the skies will slowly become smoggy with smoke which will limit the quality of the photos you’ll shoot towards the end.
Showing up on location early also allows you to negotiate a good position in the crowd so your shots remain unpolluted by blurry heads.
How Low Can Your ISO Go?
Set that ISO low so you don’t get hazy colors.
Thankfully fireworks are nice and bright so you don’t need high sensitivity in your camera. High ISOs can ruin photos by making your background look like a snowstorm. Not ideal. Change your camera’s settings and test out something in the 100-300 range.
Those bright colors will pop no matter how low.
Steady and Slow
Since your ISO will be low, you will want to take in as much light as you can. That means a slow shutter speed. And with slow shutter speeds come tripods.
Take the time to set your camera up on a tripod and you’ll want your shutter open for 2-3 seconds.
The most important part of this is that you’ll have 2-3 seconds to capture the explosion. Fireworks go up in smoke in the blink of an eye so you’ll want to give yourself as long as possible to end up with a good shot.
As you’ll learn in our free Night Photography video tutorials, you can also try the HDR setting on your camera to get the proper exposure.
Set a Long Focus
Don’t be the butt of any jokes by trying to shoot fireworks with your focus adjusting automatically. At worst you’ll never shoot a single photo since your camera will be constantly adjusting to the changing light.
If you want to be happy with your photos at the end of the day, the trick will be finding the right focus. Once you arrive on location change your focus to infinity. This will get you great photos of only the fireworks.
This tip changes if your photos include the crowd or the surrounding scenery because you’ll need to manually set a focus. It’s a little trickier but you won’t be disappointed by the results!