Tips for taking 4th of July fireworks photos

I love watching fireworks …. there’s just something about the art in the sky that I can’t get enough of!   My personal favorites are firework photographs over the mountains!  Oh how I wish I was in Keystone right now capturing tonight’s festivities!  Maybe next year.  Hmmmm.  Not a bad idea!

Anyhoo, last night, I managed to snap a few pics of our neighborhood show … but sadly, the show ended without a finale (technically difficulties, dontcha know) … so, I didn’t get a sky filled with fireworks.  And tonight, we’re headed to watch the downtown show from the lake and I don’t think a rocking boat would create the type of image you see here.  So, until next year, this will have to do!  But the colors — aren’t they awesome!

Here are a few tips that will help you capture your fireworks beautifully!   And my assumption here is that you have a DSLR and you are shooting on manual.   If you have an automatic camera, there might be a firework mode you can try.  😉

1.  You need a tripod … and a sturdy one.  I’m not sure setting your camera on a flat rock will quite do it.    You need the tripod because your shutter is going to stay open and trust me, you can’t hold the camera steady enough to get a crisp picture.

2.  In a dream world, you’d find the best vantage point so that you could get a sky-line or something fun to frame the photograph with.  But, that can be tricky if you aren’t 100% sure where the fireworks are being shot from!

3.  When the first firework goes off, use manual focus to get the image crisp.  And then, don’t touch your focus for the rest of the images.

4.  Set a low ISO.  It’s the opposite of what you’d normally do in the dark, I know … but when that firework hits the sky, there will be plenty of light and you won’t have any noise in your image!  I shot all of mine at ISO: 100.

5.  Set your aperture high — I shot most of mine at f/11 but could have gone higher!

6.  Set a long shutter speed.   Your shutter needs to stay open long enough to capture the start and finish of the firework!

This was our true view — with the pool, the palm tree and the pool canopy.  And I shot this one at f/10 and my aperture needed to be greater to get the sharpest firework!  In the images above, you can tell that I quickly changed my aperture so that I could get a sharp image!

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