how to photograph fireworks

July 4, 2012 separator Photography

 Happy Fourth of July to my readers right here in the U S of A.
Happy Wednesday to my international readers! ;D
While it’s a bit late to get started on any Independence Day crafting, I thought you might still be able to benefit from a few tips on how to photograph fireworks – just in time for the big shows tonight! I’ve included tips for DSLR and point-and-shoot, so don’t despair if you don’t have a massive camera!
  1. Use a tripod. As you’ll see in tip #, you’ll be using longer shutter speeds. The tripod will keep everything from looking shaky and fuzzy. If you also have a remote shutter release, that’s even better. I use this tripod and this remote. If you don’t have a tripod yet, try propping your camera on a railing or car roof.
  2. Turn off the flash. It’ll wash everything out and highlight closer objects than the fireworks. 
  3. Focus manually. If possible, this will give you much more control over what ends up being the star of your picture.
  4. Use long exposure times. You want to keep the shutter open for awhile so that it can get all the firework detail in low light. If your camera has a ‘B’ (bulb) setting, use that. It keeps the shutter open as long as you’re holding it down. If you have a point-and-shoot, you probably have a ‘night’ or ‘firework’ setting that will do the trick.
  5. Use the lowest ISO possible. Higher ISO will result in grainy photos. Don’t use automatic ISO mode if possible, because your camera will compensate for the dark sky with a really high ISO.
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  1. just thought I’d answer that question for you Jasanna. ISO is a term that comes from film ratings. Film has different ranges of light sensitivity, so when shooting with a film slr a photographer would use something like 100 ISO film for high light situations (outdoors), while a higher ISO would be used for low light (night or indoors). The toss up is that the higher your ISO, the grainier your photo. Also, the opening and closing of your lens is called aperture, and you change that by changing your F-stop. Hope that helps 🙂

  2. Thanks so much! I’m still learning my camera’s modes and what they do. ISO when changed makes the photo lighter or darker, right? So what exactly is it doing? Opening and closing the lens?

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