Preparation is key to good fireworks photos. If you are planning on taking photos of fireworks this 4th of July or other celebration, here are a few simple tips to help you be successful. First, most fireworks viewing is in a crowded area so it may be difficult to use a tripod so be sure and use a fast enough shutter speed for hand held shooting. Usually 1/40th or 1/60th of a second will do.Taking photos of very bright objects like fireworks against a very dark background make it hard for your camera to focus and expose properly. Be sure to start with manual settings for both exposure and focus.

Photo 1
PHOTO 1

Keep adjusting your camera until you get a photo of the street lights that is a little dim. Change the ISO setting to high or about 1600. Open f/stop. Lower shutter speed to about 1/40 of a second.

 

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PHOTOS 2 and 3


Fireworks are much brighter than street lamps so if the street lights are a little dim the fireworks will be just right.

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PHOTO 4

Brace yourself against a solid structure so you become a human tripod or you’ll probably get fuzzy photos from camera shake.

 

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PHOTO 5

 Try not to zoom in too close so you only have the fireworks.

 

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PHOTOS 6 & 7

 If you can keep buildings or trees in the foreground you establish scale. In other words people will be able to see how big the fireworks are because they have something to compare in size.
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PHOTO 8

I took this picture of a Fireworks Display in New York Harbor. Including the boat gives perspective or a since of scale. Also, note the lights on the boat are a little dim and the exposure for the fireworks turned out perfect.