Quick Tips for Photographing Fireworks

Having recently celebrated Canada Day (the anniversary of uniting 3 colonies into 1 dominion), I thought I'd share a couple beginners tips on photographing fireworks as America gets ready to celebrate her Independence.

As an American, I think my favorite holiday of the year would be Independence Day.  I always loved the celebrations, family bbqs, and the late bedtime after watching fireworks.

There's been a sort of explosion (see what I did there) of DSLRs becoming the family camera, in place of the easier "point and shoots".  Owning a DSLR doesn't guarantee you'll have decent photos if you don't know a few basics.  But have no fear - photographing fireworks is actually quite easy.


The first thing I do is, before it gets dark, focus your camera on a tree line (or structure) near to the distance the fireworks will be seen.  Then switch your lens to manual focus (there should be a little switch on the left side of the lens, marked A for auto and M for manual.  This way you won't miss the shot while waiting for your camera to focus.

Now turn your camera's flash off. 



The next thing I do is switch my camera picture mode into manual (M) from the dial on top.  Aperture mode (A not Auto) also works well for fireworks.

I dial my aperture open to a f/4 - check your manual and learn how if you don't know how.

I set my shutter speed to 100.

Next I set my camera on my knee and enjoyed the show, snapping the picture anytime I especially liked a firework - periodically check your photo to see if it's too dark or light and then adjust accordingly.  Move toward f/3.5 if you're photo is too dark.  Move towards f/11 if it's too bright.

Finally, don't worry too much about taking the perfect photo, just enjoy the show.  Chances are you'll never print the photos.  :)


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