Taking photos at night is a tough skill to to get right, but learning how to photograph fireworks is a whole new task to master. For Guy Fawkes night here in New Zealand a couple of months ago I managed to snap some photos of the local fireworks.
Getting the settings right was quite difficult to begin with, but once I got it I was really happy with the results. See what you think below.
Fireworks Photography Quick Tips
- Always use a tripod.
- Use a remote.
- Use a low ISO.
- Start with an aperture of f/11.
- Set your shutter speed to ‘Bulb’ (B).
- Manually focus.
1. Use a tripod
The most important thing to remember when trying to photograph fireworks is to have your camera as still as possible. Obviously the best way to do this is by using a tripod. If you’re not able to use a tripod, simply resting the camera on something will be fine, as long as the camera does not move.
You will be using a slow shutter speed, so any movement will blur the photograph.
2. Use a Remote
Even the slightest movement from pressing the shutter-release button to take the photo can be enough to make your fireworks photo blurry.
Using a remote to take the photo eliminates any chance of movement.
To ensure that you get the cleanest shots possible of the fireworks, start with a low ISO (e.g 100). Take a few tests shots and check the details. I kept my camera at 100 and adjusted the shutter speed to suit what I was looking for.
A mid to small aperture is perfect for fireworks photos, as the light produced by the fireworks is quite bright. I set my aperture at f/11 for the entire shoot.
Most experts suggest somewhere between f/8 to f/16.
5. Shutter Speed
When capturing any sort of light photography, the shutter speed is the most important part, and fireworks is no different. It all depends on what result you are looking for as to what speed you use.
I found that the best way to capture fireworks is to turn your shutter speed to ‘Bulb’ and expose for the entire burst of fireworks. You might even want to try leaving it open for multiple bursts.
Most of my photos were 5/6 seconds on Bulb. You will need a remote to use Bulb mode effectively.
Turn off auto-focus and manually focus your camera to infinity. Otherwise the camera will try to focus each time and you will miss the fireworks.
If you think that you’re too close to focus at infinity, try to focus on a landmark at a similar distance as the fireworks that you’re photographing.
Below are my most successful attempts to photograph fireworks. If you have any other tips or questions, please let me know!
Until next time,