Fireworks are a great element of celebrating. They are used for New Year, for the fourth of July, for weddings and many other events (and not forgetting November 5th in the UK). For many, fireworks are magical. And capturing that magic of colour and fizz on camera is perfect for people to remember the day.
If you want to learn how to take those impressively perfect firework photos, read on and discover:
- The tips of capturing firework photos
- How to take firework photos on your phone
- How to take firework photos without a tripod
Tips on capturing impressive fireworks photos
Use the right equipment
There are a few pieces of equipment that a photographer will need. A tripod is usually a must (but also: see below), and it has to be sturdy as it needs to hold the camera steady so you don’t miss any of the action. Have a remote shutter release for the camera and remember to bring an extra battery! Firework shows can go on for some time, and you don’t want to miss out on any due to a used battery.
Arrive at your location early
There are many areas to think about before photographing fireworks. If you want to have space just for you alone, arrive early to set up away from where most people will be standing. However, if you want to have the crowd in the background of your photos, then position yourself accordingly.
Setting your ISO
Set your ISO on low – around 100 to 200. Firework displays can go on for some time, and long exposures tend to increase noise, and having a low ISO will keep this problem to a minimum.
Live view on the camera screen can use up a lot of battery power. You will want the battery to last as long as possible, and using the display screen will eat up your battery power fast. When setting up your shots, use the viewfinder instead.
Set the shutter speed between two to ten seconds. The lower the shutter speed, the more likely it is that you will capture a clear and magical photo of the fireworks. Doing this manually can cause the image to come up blurry.
Shoot towards the eastern sky
Firework displays are almost always at night, once darkness has fallen. However, the location of the firework display will affect the time the sky darkens. For example, the further north one goes, the longer the days are. If this is the case for you, then shooting towards the eastern sky is the better choice. The sun goes down on the west, and having the fireworks with a darker background helps them show up in your pictures, as opposed to the lighter background in the direction the sun has just set.
Be adventurous and try different techniques. For some, zooming in might ruin an image as it can blur the picture. However, zooming in can create a great abstract photo. To do this, zoom into the sky where the fireworks will burst. And try a variety of zooms to capture a mixture of different photos and effects.
How to take firework photos on your phone
Not everyone will have a DSLR camera, but using a phone can still capture impressive firework photos. Here is how you can do that.
Use a tripod
A tripod helps the phone to stay still instead of shaking in the photographer’s hand. Blurred photos are very easy to get when using a phone camera, and the longer the shutter is open, the more likely the image will come out blurred. A tripod makes sure there isn’t any movement.
Turn off the flash
Having the flash on will disturb the image and make it look clouded. Turn the flash off and allow your phone’s camera to capture the sharpness and beauty that fireworks can give out. You can find this icon as a lightning bolt on your screen; click on it and select off.
Use manual focus
When opening up your camera on the phone, it will automatically try to find the subject to focus on. However, it cannot do this when the sky is just endless darkness. Instead, do everything manually and set the focus to infinity. This means both near and far objects stay in focus, and is your best option for capturing great firework photos.
Turn down the ISO
As mentioned before, the ISO should be turned down as a high ISO will make the camera see all the grainy detail of the dark. But as fireworks are bright, a low ISO will work perfectly.
How to take firework photos without a tripod
Even if you have a camera, you might not have a tripod, or you might have forgotten to bring one to the show. Here are a few tips on how to capture firework photos without a tripod.
Set the camera up
Follow the tips that we have mentioned above when setting your camera up. For example, putting your ISO down, don’t use live view, set the shutter speed between two and ten.
Keep it steady
This can be difficult to do as the photographer will be holding the camera by hand, and this will automatically mean that there will be a wobble. However, the photographer can still capture an impressive photo of the fireworks.
Just keep as steady as you can whilst taking the photo. Breathe out slowly and squeeze (don’t press) the shutter release – gently. Remember, there are many photos taken of fireworks that are captured whilst being handheld.
Shoot a ton of photos
You will most likely capture blurry photos without the help of the tripod, but that doesn’t matter – sometimes the best pictures are the slightly blurred ones. However, many of us will want those crisp photos. A way to ensure you will capture those clear fireworks photos is by taking a lot of images! Yes, you may have a lot of sorting and deleting of dud images afterwards, but you are almost certain to capture a few great ones as well.
If you are looking for a professional photographer to take photos for a firework display, book with Splento. At Splento, we provide professional photographers at low, fixed costs – even at short notice!
Why not contact us to see how we can help or guide you with all your photography requirements.
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