4 Easy tips on how to take pictures of fireworks
There’s an excellent article on Digital Photography School on photographing firework displays. It’s US based, and meant for the 4th of July celebrations, but a firework is a firework regardless of the time of year.
I’ve taken a few in my time, and have developed my own style for these (photos to follow when I’m not travelling about).
You can find the article here
The article mentions everything necessary to get good results for SLR users, but leaves out using compact cameras. Simple reason, compact cameras don’t have the control necessary to manage the exposure since they’re “biased” to being handheld, and programmed to return normally exposed photos with what they “see” – obviously fireworks throw a spanner in the works for the exposure.
If you only have the option of using a compact camera then the more of these following tips you can do the better:
- Use a tripod, or at least rest the camera on something sturdy (not someone else). A wall, table, anything that isn’t going to move about. It may not help, but it’ll give you a better chance of capturing something.
- Turn off flash – really, you’re not going to be illuminating anything useful, and again, the camera will try and light the sky – unsuccessfully, I promise.
- Use a longer exposure if you can. Yes, I know you’re limited by what the camera will let you do but by turning off the flash, it just may force the camera to use a longer exposure. If you have the option, start at a 20 second exposure and play around. If you camera has a “night” mode, try that out, again it varies from camera to camera, but you’ll see immediately if it’s worked out or not.
- Compact cameras generally have wider angle lenses, so keep it zoomed out to get as much sky in as possible.
Basically, what you’re after is a wide shot of the sky using just the light of the fireworks for exposure. So steadying the camera, using a long exposure, and switching off the flash is all that Pro’s do as well. Of course they have more control over their kit that you may, but as always, the principles are still the same.
I’d like to hear how you got on, and if this was useful.