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Firework Photography - Tips and Tricks

Firework Photography – Tips and Tricks

December 31, 2016

When a firework bursts against the night sky, the effect can be spectacular. It’s the kind of light show that can make for some really spectacular photographs – if you know what you are doing. It’s very easy to get it wrong when you are trying to capture that perfect firework shot, but with these helpful tips, hopefully you will be able to get it right. Remember that the main thing above all is practice: make sure that you try out your settings and equipment beforehand, get everything set up ahead of the show starting, and keep trying until you get that killer shot.

Equipment for taking the best Fireworks photo

In order to get great shots, you need to have the right equipment. Aside from the camera itself, the number one thing on your list should be a tripod. This is essential because you want to be able to keep your camera very still if you need to – you can get some really beautiful shots with the lights streaking across the sky. It also helps for trying to freeze the movement in a still burst, as you do not have to worry about your hands wobbling and cropping off part of the lights. A sturdy build is essential so that it can support a bigger lens. You may also need to adjust up or side to side quickly, so be ready to shift before you press the button.
You may want to bring an extra battery if you are planning to do long exposures as this can drain your power quickly. You will also need a lens which is long enough to crop quite close in on the action, even if it is a long way up.

Settings for the best Firework Photo Shots

Keep your ISO low as this removes noise from the image. You can get a lot of light from the firework itself, so do not worry about being able to take the photograph and see the details. You can also get a nice black sky against the fireworks for a stronger effect – rather than introducing any blue artefacts with the higher ISO settings.
The recommend F stop is between f5.6 and f8. These give the best results in terms of the trails of light that the fireworks produce. Opening the aperture up more will give bigger and more overexposed trails, while closing down will make them thinner. You can play around with the settings accordingly. For shutter speed, long exposures of around two to ten seconds can get great results.

Tricks to make the Firework photo Work

There are some settings which may seem helpful, but which will actually get in your way. Long exposure noise reduction, for example, is really useful when shooting calm and quiet long exposures – but not so much when capturing action. It can take as long as ten seconds for the camera to process this noise reduction and produce the final image, which means time lost both for shooting and checking your results. Ten seconds can be a long time in a fireworks display – you may miss most of the action during this time.
You will also want to avoid using live view, which can reduce battery time even further than the long exposures will. If it’s a large and reasonably long fireworks display, you may end up missing the finale!
Get rid of autofocus too. Focus your camera ahead of time, then shoot. If you don’t, your camera will be trying to focus on empty space as you line up your shots, and could cause you to miss the big moments.
You should aim to shoot as much as possible at the start of the show, then wait for just the big moments. Why? Because the earlier fireworks will create clouds of smoke that could be unsightly in your images later on.
Finally, remember it’s all about timing. You may have to practice a few times before you get the hang of it, but keep your cool and don’t stress out. Eventually you will work out when you should press the trigger after hearing the firework being set off.