July 4th is just around the corner and we all know what that means – fireworks! With such beauty lighting up the sky, don’t you wish you could capture it and display it on your wall? Instead of purchasing someone else’s photograph, why not try these tips and display your own work! Tip #1: Use a tripod! I know, I know, I’ve said this so many times already, but tripods help steady the camera and get you the most crisp photo! Pairing this with a remote shutter release will also fend off additional camera shake. If you do not own a tripod, take steps to stabilize your camera by leaning your arms against something, or placing the camera on a flat and steady surface. By resting my elbows on a planter, I was able to keep my camera steady to take the below shot!
Tip #2: Arrive early to get the best spot! Arrive early so you can scope out the location in the daytime. Look for the perfect spot - a place where you’ll be able to photograph the fireworks, without heads in your shot. Remember, a great shot is all about composition and framing! Use nice buildings, trees or a landmark to frame the fireworks! If the fireworks are being displayed over the water, try to include that in your shot. The burst in the sky and the reflection in the water will give you a great photo.
Tip #3: Use your firework setting. Most digital point and shoot cameras come with a firework setting which optimizes your camera to capture the lights in the sky. **For advanced users, prolong your shutter speed (around 2 or 3 seconds) or set your camera to bulb mode. In bulb mode, click the shutter right before the firework explodes, releasing right when it ends (a remote shutter release would definitely come in handy for this!).
Tip #4: Turn your flash off! Because the fireworks are bright (and not to mention far), the flash won’t help your photo. If anything, it could be a distraction, taking away from the firework experience. *Note: The exception to this case occurs when you are framing buildings or landmarks in your photo. If the fireworks do not provide enough light to show off the building, you may want to use your flash to get the building’s details into the photo.
Tip #5: Use a lower ISO. The ISO deals with light sensitivity and affects the “grainy-ness” of your photo. Since fireworks are already bright, use a lower ISO, such as 100. This will reduce grain and still provide you with a great photo!
Tip #6: Position yourself so the wind (if any) blows the smoke away from you. Smoke can be your number one enemy when photographing fireworks! Make sure the smoke blows away from you and the fireworks so your shots will look cleaner, not affected by the haze the smoke creates. Taking more photos at the beginning of the show, when there is less smoke in the air, can be beneficial as well.
Tip #7: Be prepared – memory space wise. Like with all our tips, you’ll want to take multiple photos. This will increase your chance of getting just the perfect shot (or even more than one perfect shot!) With this in mind, you’ll want to make sure you have plenty of space on your memory card, or are prepared with extra cards. Remember, firework shows always have a BIG finale, so make sure you still have space on your memory card for the end of the show!
We hope these tips help you to feel confident in your firework photography abilities! Share your best shots with us on our Facebook wall - we’d love to see them! You can also show them off in a Thank You card or next year's calendar!
For tips on taking photos during your July 4th BBQ celebration, check out our outdoor photography post here! Happy Mixbooking!