Cities around the world are planning stunning fireworks shows on New Year’s Eve 2017. Photographing fireworks as they explode into color is a technical challenge, but the effort is worth it! Whether it’s December 31 or the 4th of July, here are five tips to live by to make sure your fireworks shots turn out fantastic!
Tip 1: Photograph Fireworks from the Right Vantage Point
A few days before the fireworks show, you should take a closer look at the location. What vantage point will be best for catching all the lights? To make sure you won’t have people running into the picture, you should seek out a high spot like a roof or a hilltop.
Framing the shot to include a body of water also creates an incredible effect in your shots. Find the right angle and capture the reflection of the lights in the water – it adds a whole new dimension to your image!
Tip 2: Bring the Right Camera and Lenses
In fireworks photography, every minor shake is visible in the picture. Therefore, you’ll want to be using a tripod. Even pressing the shutter release can cause minor camera shake in your picture. While image stabilization can help, it is even better to use a tripod and a cable release. Some newer dslr cameras even offer remote shutter release through smartphone apps.
Let’s talk lenses! Depending on the composition you want, a telephoto lens or wide angle lens may be best for you. If you want to shoot with a telephoto lens to capture the details of the light, it will work best in clear weather. If you want to capture a larger area with a wide angle lens, it should be set to 10-55mm.
Tip 3: Use Manual Mode When Shooting Fireworks
Our Tips For Camera Settings In Manual Mode: Find out more about ISO speed, aperture, focus and shutter speed.
Because it is so dark at night, a long exposure of 10-30 seconds can be necessary. To avoid dreaded “exposure noise”, set the ISO speed as low as possible (ISO 100 or ISO 200).
The aperture should be as small as possible to increase depth of field and exposure time. The smaller the aperture is, the less light it lets into the camera. Note: this means you should use the highest f-stop value possible, because the bigger the f-stop value, the smaller the opening in the lens.
Most lenses have a sweet spot around an f-stop value of 8 – this is around where the resolution performance will be the best.
In the dark, a camera’s autofocus system can’t find the reference points to focus on, so it should be turned off. Focus manually, ideally using the infinity setting.
Shutter speed is incredibly important. The longer you expose a fireworks shot, the longer the streams of color will appear. Bulb mode lets you open the shutter for as long as you press down on the shutter release. If you keep the button pressed and interrupt the exposure by putting your hand or a piece of cardboard in front of the lens in between fireworks, the sensor won’t capture any more light – as soon as the next firework bursts, you can remove your hand and capture the next one, too!
Tip 4: You May Want to Try Burst Mode to Shoot Fireworks
You can’t always determine the exact moment a firework will explode, so it is a good idea to take as many pictures as possible. There is a bit of luck involved with capturing the explosion at just the right instant. Taking pictures with a mirrorless or digital slr in burst mode can increase your odds of finding just the right moment!
If the wind is strong, the camera should be positioned with the wind at your back. Otherwise, the smoke from the spent fireworks can get in the way.
Tip 5: Create the Best Print
The best way to show off your photos is with a print that has vivid color and powerful contrasts. The medium should be able to reproduce deep, intense black. Glossy products like an HD Metal Print or an Acrylic Photo Print are perfect choices.
If you have a very detailed firework photo and want a razor-sharp print, then an ultraHD Acrylic Photo Print is an excellent choice. Thanks to a revolutionary developing process, the photograph has twice the resolution of conventional photo prints.
An extravagant alternative is a Glossy Poured Resin Photo Print. The luxurious mounting technique uses crystal-clear epoxy resin for a brilliant surface with rounded-off edges. The photograph looks so realistic, it’s as if the fireworks are going off again – a great way to capture them for all eternity!