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Helpful Tips on How to Photograph Fireworks

Helpful Tips on How to Photograph Fireworks

Answers by CanvasPop is a weekly blog series featuring responses to your printing, photography, décor or art questions. Check back each week for more content! Have a question? Let us know at answers@canvaspop.com.

With Canada Day and the Fourth of July right around the corner, we thought it would be great to throw out some tips on how to photograph those celebratory firework displays! Capturing a note-worthy firework shot is not always an easy feat, and you’ll definitely need the right technique. Here are a few tips to get you snapping an epic pic in no time:

SCOPE OUT A GOOD POSITION
Figure out where the fireworks will be set off, and grab yourself a good spot with a clear view of the display. Make sure the spot you choose is upwind to decrease the chances of smoke obstructing your shot. A location with an interesting landmark is always a great idea, as it can make your photo much more interesting. We suggest avoiding an area with too much light as you run the risk of overexposure.

USE A TRIPOD
It’s important to keep your camera steady when trying to frame your shot — especially since you’ll be using a longer shutter speed which will capture any camera movement. If you don’t have a tripod, try finding a solid object or surface to prop your camera on. Alternatively, you can also steady your elbows against your body for extra leverage.

CAMERA SETTINGS
If your digital camera has a “fireworks mode”, you may not need to worry about the settings. Test it out first to make absolute sure it gives you the results you want. If it doesn’t, fix the settings yourself and have them ready to go before the show starts up. Try some test shots, and play around with your settings until things are just right.

Shoot in manual mode, and use a smaller aperture in the f8 to f16 range. This controls the amount of light your lens is allowing in — so a smaller aperture will allow less light in. This will also increase your depth of field, and allow for a slower shutter speed. You’ll want your camera to be able to capture the movement, and magnitude of the fireworks so a slow shutter speed setting is perhaps the most important component.

Since you’ll be shooting with a longer shutter speed you definitely won’t want a high ISO, as this will bring too much noise to your photo. Keep it down to about 50 or 100. Remember, no flash! This will do absolutely nothing for your photo due to the distance of your subject.

FRAME YOUR SHOT
Look through your viewfinder, and point your camera at the spot where you see the most action — or the best displays. If you’re using a tripod, you can leave the camera there so that you don’t shake it or upset the timing. Make sure you’re still remembering to exclude extra light sources while you’re setting things up.

Do you have any additional tips to add to our list? If so, leave a comment! Once you’ve walked away with that perfect photo, do it justice and check out our awesome canvas prints.

Photo credit: Chad Gibson