Crash! Bang! Boom! 8 Tips for better fireworks photography
Here are a few tips to elicit “oohs and ahhs” long after the fireworks display is over:
1. Set your camera’s zoom to the widest setting to ensure you capture plenty of colorful bursts. You can always crop your pictures later.
2. If you can, set your focus manually to infinity. On many cameras, the autofocus mechanism will not work properly in the dark, or will work too slowly to capture a fast-moving fireworks display.
3. Fireworks happen in the dark (duh), so you’ll need long exposures to capture the action. Use a tripod to avoid blurred pictures. A small flashlight can help you see to maneuver through your camera’s settings in the dark.
4. If your digital camera has a Fireworks mode, it will take care of the settings for you.
5. If you’re shooting film or don’t have a Fireworks mode, try this – manually set your camera to ISO 200, aperture f/8 and choose a shutter speed of about 4 seconds for starters. In the middle of the fireworks display, this setting will capture two or three bursts. Longer exposures will capture more bursts. A second or two is all you’ll need to catch the action during the finale, when the explosions come fast and furious.
6. As the display begins, adjust your tripod to aim the camera to where most of the action is occurring in the sky. You’ll most likely have to make adjustments throughout the show, so be familiar with your tripod’s controls.
7. Try to include some of the surrounding scenery in your photo. The fireworks will beautifully light up the park, stadium, lakeshore or whatever spot from which you are viewing the display.
8. Shoot often! A hundred shots may yield only a handful of keepers. But those spectacular shots will be picture perfect for sharing with friends and family.
Photographs © 2009 James Jordan.