Anyone can photograph fireworks as long as they plan and have some essential camera accessories. This blog post will teach you the basics of how to photograph fireworks yourself.
The first step is to choose the perfect location. Consider where the fireworks will be displayed and then plan out a strategic spot. None of the advice in this guide will help if you choose a poor shooting location.
Take a lay of the land by taking into consideration the angle of the photograph and the potential backdrop. For instance, fireworks viewed against the night sky are brilliant to the naked eye, but that would make for a boring photograph. Instead, you might capture a building behind the fireworks – or maybe a city skyline in the distance!
You’ll also need to get to the spot early to claim your spot. Remember that the view needs to be unobstructed.
Here are some other preparations that you need to make:
1. Create a Schedule: It’s easy to get distracted and forget things. Creating a schedule will prevent that from happening. It helps to prepare yourself better.
2. Pack your Gear: Create a checklist of the necessary gear for your shoot and be sure to pack it all.
3. Know the Technique: You’ll want to make sure your camera settings are set before the fireworks start.
How to Photograph Fireworks – Seven Powerful Ways
Now let’s discuss the techniques for photographing fireworks.
Switch Off Flash and Set Your Camera to Manual Mode
There are so many amateurs who will try taking photos of fireworks while leaving their flash turned on. This is usually done by accident because they leave their camera on automatic mode. Your first step is to make sure your camera is in manual mode.
Once in manual mode, set your camera to an ISO of 200 with an aperture between f/8 and f/13. Usually, f/11 will suffice. That way, all you will need to worry about on location will be the shutter speed. In most cases, a shutter speed of between 1 to 4 seconds is enough.
Use a Tripod
You must have a tripod to capture fireworks since the camera will need to remain motionless. Each shot will take several seconds, so there is no way you can stay motionless while holding the camera. Furthermore, you will be taking hundreds of shots in succession. But you don’t need to invest in a fancy tripod here. You will be able to take the picture comfortably as long as the tripod is sturdy and doesn’t shake.
Invest in Remote Release Device
One problem that people run into a lot when photographing fireworks is that their tripod shakes a bit when they press the capture button on their camera. Invest in a remote release device to prevent this. Most digital cameras will have an accessory that is designed for remote capturing. The only other option would be to use the timer on the camera, but that’s hit or miss. Just go ahead and invest in a remote release.
Set the Right Exposure
Setting the right exposure requires some trial and error. Set the range to f/13 and take a picture to determine how exposed the shot is. Then adjust the camera accordingly. If the shot is underexposed, then lower the setting to f/12 and try again. Repeat until you reach the perfect exposure.
Although this should be tested before the fireworks start lighting up the night sky, pay close attention to your first few shots and be prepared to adjust the camera on the fly.
The above settings are quite optimal for fireworks, but you might need to make slight adjustments. That’s why it’s highly recommended that you put your focus on manual and then adjust it yourself. You don’t want your camera trying to refocus itself after every shot. You’ll end up with a ton of blurry images. Using manual focus will create consistent shots. The only time you’ll have to refocus is when you change the angle of shots. Otherwise, it will remain the same throughout the entire shoot. Photographing fireworks is a bit of a lottery so the more shots you can take, the higher your chances of capturing the perfect moment.
· Use Drone to Photograph Fireworks
Drones present us with a unique opportunity to capture the best fireworks photos, but there is a challenge. Many times, the operator will need to be certified to fly drones in a populated area. However, never attempt this without checking the local laws in the area.
With that said, drones can capture angles and create backdrops that are impossible from the ground. In most cases, if you want to use drones to capture fireworks, you’ll need to hire a company that specializes in drone photography. You can also buy fireworks images from companies like The Video Caddy.
Proper framing is an essential skill in photography. You will have to worry about framing once the fireworks start blasting off into the sky. Then use the zoom feature on your camera to reframe until you have the desired effect. For instance, if you are taking fireworks photos in a big city where buildings are lit up around you, then it might be a good idea to capture one of those building in your frame.
Getting the Perfect Shot
Now that you’ve seen the techniques required to learn how to photograph fireworks, let’s recap everything we’ve learned:
1. Find the right location and get there in advance to secure it before the fireworks begin.
2. Use a tripod and remote release device to capture your images.
3. Put your camera on full manual mode and turn off the flash.
4. Set the exposure on your camera and take a few test shots to make sure it’s right.
5. Play around with angles until you capture the perfect frame.