Tuesday, July 4, 2017

July 4th - How To Photograph Fireworks

Fireworks Above A Roof - Centerville, Utah
It's Independence Day in America, and people across the country will be celebrating with fireworks. Whether a small production in your yard or a major city display, you might want to try photographing the colorful exploding lights.

Today there will be tens of thousands of people attempting fireworks photography for the first time. Maybe that's you. Perhaps you found this blog post searching for tips on how to better photograph fireworks.

The good news is that it is pretty easy. In fact, last year I created a short video that explains how to do it. Take a look:

You don't need any special gear. The picture at the top of this post was captured last year using a cheap digital point-and-shoot camera. As long as the camera you are using allows for some control over the shutter speed and exposure, you can use it to capture fireworks.

The main thing is to use a tripod. Whenever you are dealing with longer exposures, you will want to steady things up so you don't end up with a blurry image. If you don't have a tripod, find a sturdy surface and use the camera's self-timer.

Typically an exposure between 8 and 15 seconds will do the trick. I like to use f/5.6 or f/8 just to ensure an appropriate depth of field. I want the ISO to be as low as I can get it for a clean image. Each situation will cause the exposure to be a little different, so you'll just have to experiment to find what is right for your location and image.

Some people don't like to manually focus. A good trick is to auto-focus on the first firework, then (without changing the focus) switch to manual focus. If your camera can't manual focus, you'll have to auto-focus on a firework with each exposure, which isn't ideal but isn't a huge deal either.

Anyway, have a safe and happy July 4th! And best of luck in your quest to capture the beauty of fireworks!

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