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Fireworks photography is challenging but very doable. First timers always have to deal with disappointments but that’s all part of the learning process. Any kind of photography involves a trial and error phase before mastery can be achieved.
The following tips help get you started on photographing fireworks:
Have the right gear
Apart from your camera, you will need the help of a tripod. You can take photographs of fireworks handheld, but you miss out on more creative opportunities without the tripod. It’s not always convenient to bring a tripod, but it does help you take long exposures, which adds variety to the shots you can take.
An electronic cable release, be it wired or wireless, is quite useful when taking photos of fireworks. The less you touch the camera, the better the image turnout.
A wide-angle lens is a good option when shooting fireworks displays. It allows you to fit many elements in the frame, including the other people watching the light display.
Scout the location
Simply being at the right location can make a whole lot of difference. For instance, staying on high ground allows you to capture much more than just the fireworks display. Plus, being high up gives you an unobstructed view.
So arrive early – really early – so you can visualize shots you want to take and look for a location where you can set up.
Incorporating other foreground objects adds another dimension to your photographs as well. Yes, different colored lights against a black sky look cool but your photographs will end up looking all familiar if that’s all you capture. Try including buildings, monuments, and other objects into the shot. Taking a photo of the crowd watching the display of lights in the sky makes a compelling photograph as well.
Use a low ISO
Many modern cameras now have bigger sensors that allow noise-free images even when shot with a high ISO. But if you don’t have that kind of camera, your best bet is to start with the lowest ISO possible.
Shooting at night also means there’s a lot of blue, where noise thrives. So keeping ISO low prevents grainy images.
Use a small aperture
Fireworks emit bright lights so getting a decent shot means using a narrow aperture. Start at F8 and make adjustments from there.
Switch over to Manual Mode
You need to be able to control settings and Manual Mode allows you to do that. Long exposure requires slow shutter speeds and using a tripod ensures the resulting image is shake-free.
Bulb Mode can also be used as it allows you to keep the shutter open for as long as possible. Doing this allows you to capture shots from when the firework is about to burst until its has finished exploding.
Other than using Burst Mode, you can play with different shutter speeds. Doing so will give you different types of shots.
Learning how to photograph fireworks won’t always end up in success. But constantly putting yourself in situations where you can practice only helps you get better.