So, I made recent inquiries (to the Loudoun Photo Club and on Twitter) for tips on photographing fireworks since July 4th is quickly approaching. I thought I would consolidate the advice I received into this post, test it out, and then show the resulting photos from this weekend in a future post. Thank you to all who sent your suggestions! Feel free to add more to the comments.
- Use a tripod to keep the camera steady.
- Get to the display early to find the best vantage point.
- Consider having foreground or background elements in the image as they make the scene more interesting and add scale.
- Use manual focus and focus on an object close to where the fireworks will be set off from.
- Plan to take lots of photos and delete about 75% of them.
- Set shutter speed to “bulb” mode. This allows you to keep the shutter open while you press the button and the shutter won’t close until you release the button.
- Use a remote or cable release instead of the on-camera button to prevent camera shake.
- Open the shutter when the rocket starts it’s flight and close as the firework explodes so there is not a gaping black whole in the center of the firework. Should be about 2 seconds, but can range from 1/2 second to 5 seconds. Keep the shutter open longer to have multiple bursts in one image, but not too long or you’ll end up with “big blobs of light.”
- Most recommended setting the aperture to f/8, but the suggested range was anywhere from f/8-f/11.
- Set White Balance to Tungsten.
- Set ISO to 200.
One person recommended this page and which seems to have some good information: http://digital-photography-school.com/how-to-photograph-fireworks
Have a very happy and safe Independence Day!
UPDATE: Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to photograph any fireworks this year. So, I’ll have to wait until next year to try out these techniques.