New Year’s Eve, The Fourth of July, Guy Fawkes Night and Diwali are nights I look forward to with child-like glee for the fireworks alone.
Despite having the appearance of fancy photography these photos were surprisingly easy to achieve.
Tripod – in order to get sharp pictures you need a stable base and a tripod is a necessity.
Timer – if you are using bulb mode then use a timer to keep track of the exposure length.
Neutral Density Filter – these cut out light without changing colours meaning you can achieve the same exposure with slower shutter speeds. A torch – really useful to be able to light your equipment up while your set it up in the dark. It’s not always easy to know where the fireworks are going to go off so being further back allows you to make smaller adjustments with the tripod than if you were close to the action. If you’re not editing RAW files but shooting in JPEG then a great piece of free software is Picmonkey where you can achieve similar adjustments with the exposure, colour and sharpen tools.

Fireworks are such a thrilling event and getting the photography mix right will heighten the excitement. For years my efforts with photographing fireworks fell far short of the experience itself so this year I decided to get serious and came away with some fantastic shots.
By increasing the amount of time you have your shutter open for you can have more explosions in one picture.
If you want to take really long exposures then this will help you eliminate excess light between fireworks.
In these pictures I was stood at the front of the crowd which gave me a clear shot but it meant I was too close to get enough space around the fireworks.
If you are able to talk to the organisers beforehand find out how the display will play out. With a DSLR this will allow your to control the whole picture, with a point and shoot you might not be able to control settings such as ISO – check out your manual to find out what you can do.
You can experiment with larger and smaller apertures but the mid ranges will give you good sharp trails.

The first shots will have the clearest skies as there will be little smoke so you can use longer exposures without much need for editing out smoke.
If you don’t have a remote set your camera on a 2 second shutter delay to minimise the impact of movement from the camera. You can see in the bottom picture that by the end of the display there is quite a lot of smoke in the air.
For this shoot the majority of fireworks exploded in the same spot in the sky meaning I didn’t need to go over 30 seconds to capture my shots.
The general rule of thumb is the longer you have your shutter open for the more fireworks you will capture. I’ve used a neutral density filter to allow me to have my shutter open about three times as long as without the filter.

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