Take Fireworks Photos that SPARKLE

On July 4, 1776 America declared her independence.  That means that this year is our nation’s 240th birthday.  That also means that in the coming days hundreds of thousands of folks in America are going to gather to watch a glorious display of pyrotechnics in the sky.  {I’d sure love for someone to blast some fireworks into the sky for MY birthday each year!}

July 4th Fireworks
{photo credit}

Photographing fireworks is sometimes tricky. The night time conditions aren’t ideal for photography, to begin with. Add in getting a crisp focus on a bursting ball of sparkles and it almost seems impossible. Using these few steps YOU can capture beautiful photos of any fireworks show.

  1. Don’t forget the tripod.  You’ll be taking photos in the dark so you’re going to want complete stillness in your camera’s body when the shutter is open.  Even the slightest of jitter will ruin your shot.  With that being said, you may want to use your camera’s timer mode or even invest in a remote control.  Again, complete stillness while the shutter is open {or being opened as you take the shot} is absolutely ideal.
  2. Find the perfect location.  Don’t wait until five minutes before show time to “pop a squat and set up shop”.  Go early.  If possible, know the location of where the fireworks are being shot from.  Then, you’ll have an idea of where they’ll burst in the sky.  Set your tripod up where you’ll be looking straight on, not having to point your camera up.  With that being said, watch out for obstructions in your view.  {ie; power lines, light posts, buildings}  One more tip on location, try not to be where the wind is going to blow the smoke in your direction.
  3. Get creative in your composition.  Use historical buildings or landmarks to accent your photo.  {see above picture for reference}  You could also create a shot where you turn the camera towards the amazement in the eyes of the viewer.  Use the light of the fireworks to naturally illuminate their faces.  You just might capture the firework’s burst in their eyes.
  4. Turn off your flash.  This is kind of a rule of thumb in photography, period.  The on-camera flash isn’t strong enough to do you any good anyway.  Turn it off.  Trust me.
  5. Shoot in Manual mode.  You’re going to want to play with your settings and adjust as needed.
  6. Set your ISO low.   {Also, don’t set your camera to AUTO ISO.  It’s going to want to set to a higher ISO for dark lighting and this isn’t ideal for fireworks.}
  7. Set your aperture.  An ideal aperture setting will be between f/8 to f/16.
  8. Experiment with your shutter speed.  If your camera has BULB setting, try it.  The shutter will stay open for as long as you hold down the shutter release, ideally with a remote control.  You can also play with different set shutter speeds to see which allows for the nicest shot.
  9. HAVE FUN and take LOTS of photos!  Unless you’re living in 1999, you’ll be shooting in digital.  Take full advantage of that and SHOOT hundreds of photos!
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This goes without saying, don’t forget extra memory cards, charged batteries, a small flashlight to see your cameras dials to change settings and, of course, your imagination!

I know you can capture beautiful fireworks photos with these simple tips!  Will you share your masterpieces with us on our Facebook page???  I can’t wait to see your fireworks photos that sparkle!!

Avatar About Melissa Hillier

Melissa lives in Florida with her husband and five kiddos. She writes about her family life at jonahbonah. When she isn’t chasing children you can find her behind her sewing machine or her camera. Connect with her on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

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