Tuesday, July 5, 2011


During the afternoon of July 4th, I started thinking about how nice it would be to photograph the fireworks we planned to watch that evening. The only problem was, I was totally clueless about how to get good pictures of fireworks. I guessed (and rightly so) that fireworks are tricky to photograph. So I googled it and started reading article after article of tips for capturing fireworks with a digital camera. I think the tips paid off! Obviously, I'm no professional, but I'm happy with the shots I got using the advice I researched.

The most useful tips?
1. Use a tripod (I had a tiny one that is really meant for a point and shoot camera, but it screwed onto my bigger camera fine and did what it needed to do. The camera must be still and you just can't hold it still enough.)
2. Use a remote shutter release (Well, I didn't have one, so I did the next best thing and set it on the 2 second timer mode. Pushing the button causes shaking which messes up the shot, but the 2 second timer prevents that. However, timing can be difficult, and I got lots of shots of black sky.)
3. Use a low ISO setting (I put mine on 100 because it reduces the grainy noise in photos and you don't need a high ISO setting even though it's dark because you are using a long shutter speed.)
4. Long shutter speed (I set my camera to take pictures that were about 3 seconds long. This captures the movement of the firework.)
5. Medium Aperture (Many articles said 8-12 is ideal. I had mine on 8. If that had not been bright enough, I could have adjusted the aperture a bit larger.)
6. Manual Focus (This is important and was the most difficult for me to understand beforehand. You have to switch the button on the lens from auto focus to manual focus. Then, you have to watch some fireworks through the view finder and manually focus the lens to where you want it.)
7. Wide lens (Zooming in too close doesn't work because you don't know where the fireworks will end up in the sky exactly. Better to use a wider view and capture them...you can zoom in a little once you get the general idea of where they are happening, but you will capture more if not zoomed in too close.)

I had fun playing with my camera and learning a bit more about how it works. I've had it for a couple of years now, but I still feel like a novice in so many ways. Thankfully, there are tons of articles on the internet to help people like me!


Cody said...

Great photos! If anyone had ever told me my wife would enjoy laying down on a blanket in the middle of the street for 30 minutes in 100 degree heat I would have said they were crazy. Glad you are enjoying your camera!

belinda said...

these look like professionals!

Christina said...

Wow - you got some great shots! I was experimenting with my camera in bulb mode... that was fun, haha! I got a few keepers, but I definitely need more practice!

Becky said...

Beautiful shots!! Thanks for all the tips!

Rachel said...

Nice! I love these. I really, really wanted to shoot the fireworks this year too. But, sadly....we didn't get to see one firework! Maybe next year!

Saurabh said...

this looks beautiful, u shd do more with ur camera :)