How to Photograph Fireworks

Celebrations of major holidays or special occasions, such as weddings, are occasions where you can photograph fireworks. It can be a challenge to do these photos; however, you can achieve professional results by following the steps below.

Step 1: Be Prepared

Make sure that there are fresh batteries in your digital camera and that you have a memory card with at least 2 GB free space. Bring extra batteries and equipment that you will need such as a tripod, a remote switch device and a remote shutter release.

Step 2: Choose Your Vantage Point

To shoot clear photos, arrive early and choose a vantage point where there is an unobstructed view. If possible, find a spot that is elevated, such as on a roof of a building. Find angles to frame your shots that include interesting foreground or background scenery for your shots such as a city skyline or a lake for reflections.

Step 3: Adjust the Settings on Your Digital Camera

Some digital cameras have a nighttime or fireworks display setting, however, you may need to make adjustments manually. It is not necessary to have a fast lens to photograph fireworks, so an aperture setting in the small to mid range between f/8 to f/16 is recommended. Your ISO setting should be set at 100 for the clearest shots. The flash setting should be switched off as it will not have any impact on your shots and would highlight the smoke from the fireworks rather than the colors you want to capture.

Step 4: Control Your Shutter Speed

You can set your shutter speed for a long exposure, or you can use a technique that employs a remote shutter release. You would hit the shutter release at the point where the firework is about to explode and hold it down for the duration of the explosion. This technique will keep you from leaving the shutter open too long and over expose the shot.

Step 5: Use Manual Focus Mode

Manual focus is preferable to photograph fireworks. Using auto focus in low light can be a difficult adjustment for digital cameras which can cause you to miss shots while the camera tries to compensate.

Step 6: Choose Your Focal Length

To photograph fireworks, it is recommended to use a wider focal length to capture the cleanest shots. You can experiment and mix in tighter zoomed in shots of the fireworks, however, the same effect can be achieved by cropping the wider angle shots. For the wide angle or zoomed in shots, you can use a setting on your camera or lenses designed for your camera.

Step 7: Secure Your Camera

Using a tripod will ensure that your digital camera does not move while taking your shots. This is effective when using longer shutter speeds, which capture the fireworks movement and any movement of the camera. Using a remote release device to take your photos can also minimize any movement.

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