Fireworks: The 10 best tips

Summer is coming and the 4th of July celebrations (in the US, of course) are upon us. This means that we will have the opportunity to shoot fireworks, this ever-wonderful show. Usually, we will get only a few minutes to shoot and we don’t want to wait until next year for another opportunity. So, here are YLovePhoto’s top Y-tips for a better fireworks photography.

Lyon - France - L'ombre de la basiliquephoto © 2009 Amaury | more info (via: Wylio)

  1. Know the place: You may use maps or scout the location, but be prepared and since there will be a lot of people and moving around is less of an option when the show starts, be sure to know exactly where you want to be (and be there beforehand).
  2. No flash: It won’t help for the fireworks, it could only light up some foreground elements in front of the show (and light balance will be difficult to obtain). It’s better/easier to use the shadow of these foreground objects, if it is easily recognizable.
  3. Use a tripod: It’s night time, there is light, but not enough. Apertures will be wide and speed will be low. Get a heavy, sturdy one (Avoid being bumped into by people and limit exposure to the wind: All these make blurry photos).
  4. No autofocus: You need to focus at the infinity and then go back to manual.
  5. Use long shutter speeds: The longer speeds will allow filling the pictures with more light (But don’t over do it; Several light flowers are good, a bunch of colored streaks is probably not right).
  6. Experiment with apertures: If there is more than the fireworks to be placed in the picture (a good idea), try experimenting with the aperture to choose the best depth-of-field.
  7. Have a flashlight: At night, it will be difficult to find your way around.
  8. Have replacement parts ready: Batteries or Flash cards must be in an easily accessible location (without light, it’s easy to reach for your pockets, right?)
  9. Don’t check the pictures on the LCD: There is no time for this, shoot, you’ll look later. (Option: Check only 1 or 2 images at the beginning, nothing after that).
  10. Frame: Think and try different compositions and frames (panoramic, vertical, etc.)

Happy shooting, now!