Monday, July 2, 2012
Ok, it's only one more day until the 4th of July and I hope everyone is planning on going out and trying to get some awesome firework shots. I thought this would be a good time to share some tips on how to do so. All the pics in this post are from 4th of July last year. I can't wait to try it again this year!
1. Use a Tripod! I'm sure you've heard this tip before and are secretly hoping there's some way around this, but it's really the only way to get clear, in focus shots, of fireworks. You generally need an exposure far too long to handhold. Also, if you have one, use a remote. It will help reduce camera shaking when you press the shutter.
2. Set Manual Expousre Set your exposure manually and set a long shutter speed. I used 4 second exposures for all the shots in this post. I may try some even longer this year to try to get some ambient light in the picture. Also set your aperture to a large number (small opening.) I used f/18 for these, but anything larger than f/8 should do fine. This will help everything be in focus. Also because of the long shutter speed, keep your ISO low to reduce noise.
3. Set Manual Focus This one's really important. Your camera is going to have a hard time finding something to focus on when it's aimed at a black sky with random lights going off in front of it. Lock off your focus so when you're ready to take the picture, it takes right away. For me, I waited for the first couple of fireworks to go off and manually focused on them, and then just kept my focus at that the rest of the night.
4. Fire away! Take A LOT of pictures. A lot of shooting fireworks is about timing. This gets easier towards the end of the display when they are more frequent but a lot of times I just fired randomly and waited to see if I got anything! You never know what firework is going to go off next and if you wait to see it'll be too late!
5. Get Some Perspective I think it makes for an interesting shot to include buildings or people or some surroundings in the shot. The shot below happened on accident, as a little girl climbed the fence to see better, and it ended up being my favorite shot. This year, I plan on getting more shots that include people or buildings or part of the landscape.
6. Don't be Embarrassed! If you think you'll never be able to take these shots because you're going to a really crowded firework show somewhere and you'll never be able to bring your tripod and set it up among all those people, just remember, that's EXACTLY what I did to get these shots, and I was so glad I did!
If you have any other tips for shooting fireworks let me know in the comments! Also I'm leaving this linky open a little longer than usual, because if you end up shooting fireworks, I hope you come back and link them up (even if you've already linked up a regular post!)