9 Tips for Photographing Fireworks


Summer days, barbecues, the beach, and FIREWORKS! The 4th of July is here. If you’re like us, you are looking forward to taking your children to watch fireworks. More specifically, you’re excited to once again try to capture a picture of a few fireworks. Today we offer 9 of our best tips to do just that.
9 tips for photographing fireworks

1. Be prepared

Bring a small flashlight since it will be dark. That way if you need to change settings or drop something it will be easier to find. Make sure to bring lots of memory cards because you will be taking a lot of continuous photos.

2. Get there early to find the best spot

Look for a place with an unobstructed view. Watch out for buildings and trees that could block your view. Stay away from street lamps or any other lighting that will mess with your exposure. Also, if you can, get close to the water, that way you can see the reflection too.

3. Use a tripod



You are going to have very long exposures, which can cause blurry and shaky photos. The easiest way to get sharp photos is by using a sturdy tripod. If you do not have a tripod or forgot to bring it, lean on a fence, car, or something else sturdy.

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4. Check which way the wind is blowing

If the wind is blowing to the left try to get to the right of the fireworks. That way there won’t be smoke between you and the fireworks. If there is, your photos may turn out hazy.

5. Use a very low ISO

When you are shooting longer exposures high ISO can introduce a lot of  noise to your photograph. Start out using an ISO of 100. You may find you need to bump this up, but just don’t go to high.

6. Turn your flash off

The people around you would not appreciate your flash going off.  It wouldn’t reach the sky anyways.

7. Use a long shutter speed or bulb setting

Use a shutter speed of at least 1 second, if not more. If you leave the shutter open long enough you could get several fireworks in the same photo. You can also use your bulb setting. When using this you click your shutter once to open it and then when you are ready, click it again to close it. If you use your remote it is even better because you won’t be shaking your camera as you hit the shutter button.

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Having a remote is a cheap necessity for your DSLR. Buy It: Canon | Nikon

For Bulb Setting: set the camera to manual mode and use the command dial to set the shutter speed to Bulb.

8. Focus into the sky

Use manual focus to focus into the sky where you think the fireworks will be. This may need to be adjusted after the first couple of photos you take. Use an aperture of at least f/8, this way the whole firework will be in focus.

9. Fireworks Preset

Check to see if your camera has a fireworks preset. If so, try it out and see what you think. Sometimes this is a good starting point.

Review of Settings: ISO 100 | f/8+ | Bulb

One last tip, don’t forget to photograph your children while enjoying the firework display. Now get out there this 4th of July and start snapping those fireworks!

If you are going on vacation make sure you check out our post on  :     How to Take Great Family Vacation Photos

Photo Credits: Sarah Halstead



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Sarah lives in North Carolina with her husband and two sons. She enjoys photography and blogging about her life as a special needs mom at By Sarah Halstead. You can contact her through email.