Photographing Fireworks

Photographing Fireworks

Posted by Leigh Diprose on 2nd Jul 2018

The Fourth of July is almost here and many of you will reach for your cameras hoping to catch the big finale of a firework show.

In the process of setting up a shot have you ever been to an event where fireworks are going off in the wrong places? What we mean by that is looking around at ground level do you notice all the inbuilt camera flashes firing?

If you answered yes we hear that sigh!

As photographers we know the flash units on our cameras are not enough to light the sky, so we want to encourage you to pass on some of our advice to anyone who might want to learn how to photograph fireworks, instead of flashing in public.

The Tools

A Tripod and Ball-Head

The first thing you will need is a sturdy tripod and ball head to support your camera as the scene before you is likely to be quite dark. We recommend our GP ball head as a great place to start. This equipment is necessary as the shutter of the camera will open for more time to allow additional light to hit on the sensor, creating a correct exposure. If you didn’t use a tripod, the image would be blurry as any of your physical movement that occurs during the exposure will appear as motion blur in the picture.

A Camera Remote

Now you have your camera on a ball head and tripod, plug in a corded or wireless remote. This gadget will let you take photos without having to press the camera’s shutter button down on the camera itself. The beauty of this is there will not be any camera shake because you won’t be physically touching the camera to take photos.

TIP: If you do happen to leave your remote at home, turn on the self-timer. This little tip will give you enough time to press the shutter button while allowing your camera a certain amount of seconds to stabilize itself.

The Settings

With the setup complete it’s time to turn to the camera’s settings. We recommend shooting in a manual mode as you will be able to control three things, the ISO, shutter and aperture. As a useful guide, we suggest you start at ISO 200 with an aperture of F11. Then change your shutter speed to several seconds and play either side of these settings. The results you should achieve from this setup will be worth it. Your white balance setting will change how the colors look in your image. You can experiment with different white balance settings and see if you like the colors better at a certain setting.  

We would love to see some of your fireworks shots. Have a Happy Fourth of July!