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Category Archives: How To

Painted Sky
Painted Sky, 10/10/07

It’s that time of year when everyone wants to know how to get good photographs of fireworks. It’s actually not that hard if you follow a few simple guidelines.

1. Pick a good location to shoot from. Choose a spot that is upwind from where the fireworks will be set off so that the smoke blows away from you and out of your photograph. Remember that the fireworks will explode high in the sky, so be sure to look up when choosing your spot. Make sure that your view will not be blocked by trees or buildings – although thoughtfully incorporating some things in the foreground will create a nice composition.

2. Use a tripod. It’s the only way to be sure you will get a sharp picture. Even better, combine the tripod with a remote shutter release.

3. Turn your flash off. The only thing it’s going to light is the back of the head of the person in front of you – not exactly the effect you’re going for!

4. Use the right settings. If you have a point and shoot with a fireworks setting on your camera, use that. If not, set your camera to landscape. If you can manually set your camera, the following settings are a good place to start: ISO 100, 2-4 second shutter, aperture f8-f16. Manually focus your camera on something in the far distance.

5. Take lots of photos. After the first few, take a look to make sure you’re getting what you want. Play around with using variations on the settings recommended. Now enjoy the show!

Here are my favorite links for more tips on photographing fireworks.

How to Shoot Fireworks by Scott Kelby
How to Shoot Fireworks Displays at Digital Photography School
11 Tips for Sparkling Fireworks Photos at Photojojo