How to capture these mesmerizing flower firework effects in-camera

Jul 25, 2023

Jeffrey Wong

Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe

How to capture these mesmerizing flower firework effects in-camera

Jul 25, 2023

Jeffrey Wong

Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe

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How to capture mesmerizing flower firework effects in camera

Capturing fireworks in a creative way can be a thrilling and rewarding experience for photographers looking to add a unique touch to their portfolio. My close-up fireworks techniques are inspired by my desire to create unimaginable designs, revealing endless creative possibilities.

I attempt to show the pyrotechnics in a whole new light by capturing the complex details and vivid colours up close, beyond standard displays. I hope to achieve mesmerizing designs within each explosive moment through my inventive approach.

The inspiration behind the close-up fireworks technique lies in the desire to break free from conventional firework photography. By capturing complex details and vivid colours up close, photographers aim to present pyrotechnics in a whole new light, going beyond standard displays.

How to capture mesmerizing flower firework effects in camera

The goal is to create unimaginable designs within each explosive moment, revealing the true beauty of fireworks through an inventive approach.

Equipment Needed

To execute the close-up fireworks technique, all you need is a standard DSLR or Mirrorless camera and the following equipment:

  • DSLR or Mirrorless Camera: Choose a camera with manual settings to have full control over exposure and focus.
  • 24-70 mm Lens: A versatile lens that allows for flexibility in framing and composition.
  • Tripod: A stable tripod is essential to keep the camera steady during long exposures.
  • Cable Release: A cable or remote shutter release helps to minimize camera shake when taking photos.
  • ND 2 or 3 Stops Filter: A Neutral Density (ND) filter is useful for controlling the amount of light entering the camera, especially during long exposures.

How to Shoot Close-up Fireworks

Close-up fireworks are simple and easy to learn, relying on the skilful use of focus and defocus to produce distinctive shapes and designs. However, getting perfection or creating truly amazing results might require a lot of practice and experimentation. Photographers can unleash the full potential of this approach by improving these techniques over time, allowing them to shoot extraordinary fireworks photography.

Camera settings

ISO 100, Aperture f/4,  Shutter speed 3 secs

– Manual focus

ND 2 or 3 stops filter mounted

Note: You must review the first shot and adjust the exposure accordingly.

Here are the simple steps (shifting the focusing from focus to defocus):

a) Set up the camera on the tripod.

b) Pre-focus manually on a subject at an equal distance to the fireworks as a reference point.

c) Anticipate where the fireworks will explode and aim the camera accordingly.

d) When the firework bursts, click the shutter and swiftly move the focusing ring either to the right or left (depending on the lens construct) to achieve a blurry image (defocus).

e) The exposure should last for about 3 seconds, transitioning from focus to defocus during this time.

f) Return the focusing ring to the in-focus position and be ready for the next burst.

g) As you become more proficient, you can experiment with variations, such as shooting from defocus to in-focus, after mastering the initial technique.

Technical Aspects

While the initial exposure settings of ISO 100, f/4, and a shutter speed of 3 seconds serve as a starting point, the critical aspect is reviewing the first photo and making necessary adjustments. By increasing or decreasing the ISO or aperture (F-stop) while keeping the time at 3 seconds, photographers can achieve the proper exposure and capture breathtaking close-up fireworks photos with the perfect combination of light and detail.

The most challenging aspect of capturing fireworks creatively is the lack of control over the sequence and timing of the fireworks. Firework displays typically happen only once on the actual day of the event without any preview, giving photographers only one chance to get the shots right until the next event, which could be months away.

Additionally, the amount of movement required for focusing and refocusing is a guessing game, resulting in different results for each adjustment. However, overcoming these challenges can be highly rewarding when photographers manage to capture unique and captivating images.

Advice for Photographers wanting to try

For anyone eager to try the close-up fireworks technique, here is some valuable advice:

  • Prepare and Plan: Arrive at the location early to secure a good spot and set up your equipment. Planning allows you to be more organized and ready to capture the shots.
  • Experiment and Be Patient: Don’t be afraid to try different settings and techniques. Patience is key, as you may not get the perfect shot on the first attempt. Learn from mistakes and keep refining your approach.
  • Enjoy the Experience: Photographing fireworks creatively should be a joyful and exciting experience. Embrace the beauty of the moment and savour the thrill of capturing unique and breathtaking images.

This close-up fireworks technique can give you a chance to push the boundaries of traditional firework photography and unleash your creativity. By following the step-by-step process outlined above, experimenting with settings, and embracing the challenges, you can capture stunning and extraordinary firework images that showcase the artistry of pyrotechnics in a whole new light.

So, grab your camera, find a spectacular fireworks display, and embark on a journey of creative exploration to create mesmerizing images that will dazzle viewers and leave them in awe.

About the Author

Jeffrey Wong is a black-and-white elementary and fine art architecture photographer and instructor. He was awarded the prestigious PSS Fellowship in 2019 and has won numerous local and international photography competitions. You can follow Jeffrey on Instagram.

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2 responses to “How to capture these mesmerizing flower firework effects in-camera”

  1. Mohamed Benmeddour Avatar
    Mohamed Benmeddour

    Very old trick, but still cool

  2. Mozak Avatar
    Mozak

    I like this idea and was looking for a different take at taking fireworks shots. They are all same and boring and this is very cool. If you zoom in into these, they can even serve as an abstract light pictures. Thanks.