Fireworks can be spectacular to watch, and they’re nothing less impressive in photographs. If you want to capture fireworks, there are some techniques you need to apply to make the photos sharp, interesting and impressive like the fireworks itself. In this video, Pierre T. Lambert shares seven tips for shooting spectacular photos of fireworks, just in time to get you ready for the 4th of July.
1. Use manual settings
When shooting fireworks, you can use any camera you have: DSLR, mirrorless, compact or phone: as long as it has manual settings. If you use a smartphone, there are apps you can download that will allow you to shoot in manual mode even if your phone’s camera app doesn’t allow it.
2. You don’t need a tripod
This sounds odd, considering that you’ll use slow shutter speed and you don’t want to end up with blurry shots. However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t stabilize your camera. Place it somewhere where it will be still, it can even be on the floor or on top of your backpack. The point is that you don’t have to carry a tripod around, it’s enough to find a place where you can put your camera and keep it still for a few seconds.
3. Experiment with settings
Pierre likes to start with these settings: ISO 100, f/5.6, shutter speed 3 seconds. He suggests you take the first shot with these settings and then readjust the aperture or the shutter speed to get the correct exposure.
4. Shoot in RAW or RAW + JPG
We have pointed out many times before that shooting RAW is important. It will give you much more editing options as it will save more data in the photo.
5. Be creative with shutter speed
Pierre usually starts with the shutter speed of 3 s and suggests you do the same. However, you should be creative with the shutter speed to get more or fewer light trails. Go for 5 s, 10 s or even longer shutter speeds. Just keep in mind that too long exposures might make the image too bright or have too many fireworks in the shot.
6. Don’t shoot just the fireworks
Give your photos a sense of location: shoot a cityscape, buildings around you, or people looking at the fireworks. This will give your photos some context and make them more interesting.
7. Underexpose a little
Make your photos a bit underexposed in order not to burn out the highlights. This way you will keep the details in the shot, and you can recover the shadows in post.
Come early! There will most likely be a lot of people around. So, arrive early and find a spot where you can take some unique shots.
To recap: use manual settings, shoot RAW and feel free to experiment with settings, angles and compositions. Here is another interesting way of shooting fireworks, so perhaps you can try that as well and get some pretty unusual shots.
[How To SHOOT FIREWORKS: 7 SECRETS to photograph fireworks LIKE A BOSS | Pierre T. Lambert]