Photographing fireworks is easier than you may realize. With a few adjustments, you’ll be catching some beautiful shots worth framing.
Don’t feel like you need to have the latest and greatest camera and lens. In fact, the camera I used for these photos was a Nikon D7000 with a Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 18-140mm 1:3.5-5.6ED DX VR. This lens worked quite well for the photos even though I was pretty far away from the fireworks.
So here are some things I’ve learned over the past few years that may help you take photographs of fireworks .
- What Lens to use: Stick with wide angled lens anywhere from a 17-5omm. Also, give the basic kit lens a try as well.
- ISO: Should be set at 100-200.
- Aperture: F8 – F16. The aperture setting is going to depend on the lighting of the area you’re shooting from and the distance you are from the fireworks. When you take your pics, look at them to see if they are too bright or too dark. If they are too bright, increase the aperture. If they are too dark, dial it down.
- Shoot in Manual: This way you will have complete control over your camera. Also, make sure the VR is turned off. A good way to get a clear picture in the dark is to wait for the first firework to go off and then focus in on it, and then keep it set there.
- Cable Release: You’ll need a remote so you’re not getting blurry photos from camera shake. Also, the remote allows you record your images longer.
- Shutter: Use the bulb mode with the cable release. Hold down the cable button for 2 1/2 – 6 seconds when you want to take your shot. When you want to capture a big burst of fireworks, try holding it for 6 seconds.
- A Tripod: Using a tripod is very important. Not only does it keep your camera still, but you can set it up so you can shoot horizontal or vertical. The photos above were taken horizontally, so I got wider shots. If you want longer shots with the tail of the fireworks, then go with the vertical approach.
- Things to bring with you when photographing fireworks: A flashlight. I always keep one in camera bags. I really like headlamps so I can keep my hands free. Also, a lens cleaner is always good to have around. Bring a folding chair, because you’ll be sitting and waiting for a while before the show starts. Also, if you’re heading to the fairgrounds, bring some water so you don’t have to pay for it!
Just remember: you’ll need to adjust your settings to meet your needs. This is just a starting point to help you get started in the right direction.
Try to be creative with your composition and the foreground and background. The people around you make for a great silhouette in the dark with fireworks in the background.
The best thing to do, is enjoy your fireworks show and have fun with it. Don’t be to hard on yourself if you miss a few shots. I’m sure you’ll get plenty and will be a pro at it in no time!