How to Photograph Fireworks

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Remember the 5th of November – and your firework pictures! I used to really struggle with these shots until this summer at the Bournemouth Summer Fireworks, but practice makes perfect! Remember that your camera is on a mission to convert your photo to almost daylight. The problem I kept coming up against was camera shake and a completely white photo so using the right settings will help you fight against this! Have a read of my top tips to get the perfect firework photos.  

img_5186Plan and frame your shot

Advance preparation will really help you get the best shots. A quick google will bring up some of your local firework displays. Then scout out the location beforehand and pick the spot you’re after. In Bournemouth, the key for us wasn’t to get as close as possible but to get the best foreground. When it comes to framing the shot – anticipate where the bursts will be. This means you can position your camera in the best place to capture all the action. The best photos of fireworks have something in the foreground – pick whatever that is and set your camera to focus on it!

Switch off your flash and enter night mode

Some cameras have a night mode, if you’re after firework pictures then this is the one you want! If you’re using a phone some of these settings will still apply so keep reading on. You won’t be needing the flash – have a read on to set your ISO. This will act to brighten the scene.


Set your exposure and use a tripod!

Camera shake is something to avoid with fireworks – go for really crisp lines for the fireworks. Go for a medium shutter speed of about 1 second to start of with. Once you have a baseline – try experimenting with speeds of between 1 and 6 seconds. It might be worth investing in a remote release. This will help with camera shake as you won’t risk moving the camera at the moment you press the shutter!

Set your ISO and aperture.

In previous posts we’ve talked about what ISO is  – the light sensitivity setting on your camera. In firework photos a high ISO is where you need to be! Aperture is a bit harder to get right because fireworks aren’t always in the same place – go for a mid range aperture somewhere around f8. Rememeber to experiment – if you need to you’ll probably need to raise this number!


Summer Fireworks at Bournemouth Pier from @WildlifeClaire on Instagram

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