Few things are more exciting than a fireworks display—except maybe a photograph of a fireworks display. If you can visit the location of the fireworks show ahead of time, it’ll help you gauge the best angles for your photos.
But you won’t be able to predict the crowds, so make sure you scout out a couple of backup, super-secret locations too.
You can certainly get great shots of fireworks with a smartphone, but the rules of engagement are a bit different when shooting with a phone instead of a full-on camera. Because of the missing optical-zoom capabilities, you’re going to want to be closer to the action with a phone than you would be with any other kind of camera.
You can still get great shots of fireworks with faster shutter speeds (and you won’t need a tripod). Apple recently announced it will open up the iPhone’s manual camera controls to third-party developers at WWDC 2014, so there should be apps that let you take full control of manual settings by this time next year. If you’d rather put a personal touch on your fireworks photos, get ready to dive into the manual controls. When using a slow shutter speed, a tripod is necessary unless you want to get really creative and light-painty. Heading out to watch a fireworks show (it is the 4th of July you know) and plan to use your iPhone as your primary camera?
HDR takes multiple photos at different exposures, then automatically combines them together into a single image using software. You’ll also want to keep the original picture because it lets you determine which is the best image to keep.
Once you get a picture or two that you’re happy with, use Exposure Lock to lock in the exposure details so that your future fireworks shots will come out just as good. Exposure Lock is super easy to enable, just tap and hold on the camera screen in the region where you want to lock the exposure and lighting to. Shooting often is the dirty secret of most professional digital photographers, they make take 100 pictures and only keep a handful that turned out particularly great. The tips apply to taking pictures of any fireworks with the iPhone, today just happens to be an occasion to post about it since there are a lot of readers watching a firework show this evening.
Very useful – if not for tomorrow in the UK, the Edinburgh festival is combining next month, which has great fireworks every night all through August. Being outdoors and taking lots of photos with exposures to suit eats up a lot of power in your charge. Take the biggest size capacity memory card or memory stick (if it’s a Sony) because believe me, you’ll need it. When taking pictures of fireworks with your tripod, one trick to use is to keep the shutter button down for the entire time the fireworks have exploded in their array of colour. If your camera is an SLR or has some good manual controls then you can choose how you want the fireworks to come out. Once you feel confident to start learning how to take photos of fireworks, try an event and good luck!
Love your articles Amy, they’re extremely interesting, especially since I am new to photography. We have fireworks in my street this time every year, even though they are small, I can still apply the principles. Could you message me with a few pointers about how you made this site look this cool, I would be thankful. I absolutely love this site, information like this is so important to my digital photography.


I haven’t really seen any truly striking black and white fireworks photos, are you sure you want to do black and white?
You obviously want a clear shot of the sky, and a nice wide-angle view of the skyline should do wonders for your shot composition. But if you have a phone-friendly tripod, you might as well download an app that lets you adjust your shutter speed to capture dramatic light trails—and avoid the fireworks being the only thing visible in your photos. Still, there are a few apps that let you take control of the shutter speed on the iPhone camera right now: LongExpo, Slow Shutter!, Slow Shutter Cam, and Slow Shutter Camera+. You won’t be adjusting your focus from shot to shot in this scenario, so flip your camera to manual focus and set that focus to infinity. You may want to press the shutter button just as you see shells launch into the sky so that your long-exposure shot depicts the light trails from that upward journey as well as the full drama of the explosion.
Any movement of the camera will make the light trails and other objects in the scene look like blurs, but this feature can also be used to great creative effect.
Some let you adjust the full sheet of in-camera settings, while others just let you control the shutter button and get a live view of the scene from your camera. For shooting something like fireworks, HDR can be particularly advantageous because the different exposure images often capture light-trails and other details that a single image may not capture. You can apply that same theory to your iPhone shots when capturing tricky lighting situations like fireworks.
Subscribe to the OSXDaily newsletter to get more of our great Apple tips, tricks, and important news delivered to your inbox! Point is taken, but this is certainly not intended to be US-centric, as you can see one of the photos is of a firework show behind the Eiffel Tower in France.
For a start, understand that fireworks are short lived, explosions of colour which have an intensity lasting for just a few seconds.
Once captivated and determined to get a really good picture, you’ll be there for as long as it takes snapping away and will most likely loose track of time. The picture will be compressed when you get it onto the computer and email it anyway, so chose the highest resolution so the image does not loose clarity and so that even some of the noise from the night sky will be compressed.
It’s not until they are in the sky that you can really tell where to focus, what to focus on, how to set the camera, and you can’t do all that in a few seconds. The moment they show signs of fading, release your finger and let the camera close the shutter. But not too long: I recommend holding the shutter button down, or release the cable after about one and a half seconds up to five seconds.
Now that I’ve given you something to think about with your exposure why not try altering your angle? Make sure it’s a good clear shot without street lights getting into the camera to detract from the beautiful images on your photo, or passing cars that may potentially create light streaks in your picture. She teaches enthusiast photographers how to take beautiful, professional photos in easy, plain English.
If it’s blowing towards you from the direction of the fireworks, you may end up with increasingly murky photos as the show goes on. If the sky starts filling up with smoke, you can still get some good shots if you use a tighter zoom that features less of the smoke-filled skyline. For Android, the best bet is probably Camera FV-5, which turns the smartphone camera into a full-fledged manual shooter. The one exception to this rule would be the Nokia Lumia 1020, which has a 41-megapixel sensor that provides enough resolution so that digital zoom doesn’t look super-crappy. If you’d rather keep your images looking tack-sharp, use a tripod and a remote-control app or shutter-release cable.


Taking pictures of fireworks involves a little bit of planning, not just point and shoot and hope for the best.
They need the depth in a shot, so make sure the composition is in keeping the appearance of being ‘big.’ After all, you want to convey their majesty and power in the photo. There is nothing worse than the camera running out of power at the crucial moment or the thing blinking at you, saying you have one shot left and you haven’t finished!
What you are doing here is keeping the ‘eye’ of the camera open long enough for the light and colour to get into the lens, senor and create a grand image for you. Also choose a spot where people won’t constantly walk in front of the camera, stare at it and wave whilst you are trying to take the picture (pet hate). This can enhance the creativity of your angle and shots by simply using a different movement on your camera. She has a monthly photography emagazine and ebooks to help you create stunning images every time. In bulb mode, the camera takes a shot for as long as you press the shutter button, so you can start the exposure exactly when you want and end it just as precisely.
Many modern cameras have sidecar mobile apps that let you take control of the camera without touching it. Happy 4th of July for everyone all over the world esp if u just watched Will Smith in Independence Day!!!! Getting good digital shots of fireworks is about using your settings properly to expose the picture without getting too much noise in the picture. Perhaps even pick something in the distance that you think might be the same distance away as the fireworks would be, and set the camera to that.
Longer exposure times do indeed compensate for the lack of light, but the only draw back with digital is that the longer the aperture stays open, the more noise creeps into the photo.
If you’re not sure, try both types of exposure and a something in between and see what you like best. You can use a range of battle-tested manual settings to capture dramatic photos of those explosions in the sky. Even better, use rooftops creatively, sneak onto the fireworks barge as a stowaway—anything to get really close to the action and force your smartphone to expose the shot for the fireworks themselves. This may seem counterintuitive, but some stabilization systems actually introduce shake if there isn’t any, and some of them also boost the ISO or use a faster shutter speed to snap a crisper shot. This is especially handy for fireworks photos, because you can unwittingly move the camera slightly every time you physically touch its shutter button or controls. If you choose auto focus you’ll find your shot will be gone as the fireworks evaporate into the blackness of the night sky. Open both pictures in PhotoShop; select a rectangle or freeform part on the sky of the second photo, copy that as a layer on top of the first photo, then merge the results.
Even if you’re using a smartphone, there are a few apps and quick tips that will help you nab the best shots. Angle it so that the shot is 90 degrees vertical, and even whereby the bottom of the picture is at an angle.



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