Top 6 Tips for Capturing Fireworks
Bonfire Night, Christmas and New Year; for the next couple of months fireworks will be far from few as we celebrate on a regular basis this winter.
As with any major event, we like to make memories by taking photos that we can reminisce over years to come. However, with fireworks being so fast and short, it can be difficult to take the perfect shot if you don't know what you're doing.
So, here are my tips for successful firework photography.
Scout Out the Area
Know you’re environment. Where will be the best place to take shots from? What angle will be best? Where can you shoot so people don't get in the way? Preparing early is the best way to ensure you get successful shots instead of mediocre ones.
It also helps to get there 1-2 hours early to make sure your preferred spot hasn't been taken by the general public or other photographers. Being upwind from where the fireworks are being set off from is also advantageous to avoid being smoked out.
Use a Tripod
There’s nothing worse than thinking you've captured the perfect shot, only to find that you were moving too much, making the photo blurry and distorted. By using a tripod you can avoid this disappointment and focus more on where you’ll be shooting.
Having a remote release for your camera can also be useful in keeping your tripod steady during shoots. Timers can be a little trickier as you have to time the shots further in advance. Still; practice makes perfect!
Turn Off Your Flash
There’s no need for the flash on your camera. If anything, it'll make your photos worse. Set it to manual mode so you can control the aperture and exposure yourself. Don't let the camera decide what’s best as most cameras can’t handle working in limited light.
Take control and make the perfect photos yourself!
Size Your Frame Well
Don't forget that when fireworks explode, they spread out in all directions so you need to make sure you anticipate how far they're going to spread. Of course this is trial and error so don't worry too much if you miss the first few shots as you’re getting used to the spread of the fireworks.
Perhaps try both vertical and horizontal arrangements so you can take a variety of different shots.
Review your shutter speeds
Setting your shutter speed to bulb (or ‘b’) is advisable as there is no time set for the exposure and you can open and close manually when you feel you've captured enough bursts in one shot. You shouldn't keep the shutter open for too long as you can overexpose your shot, resulting in a blur of light and colour.
A lot of photographers suggest is with the bulb or ‘b’ setting is that you should open the shutter as soon as you're either hear or see the firework shoot into the air and leave it open until the firework begins to fade.
Don't let these rules tie you down. The best part about photography is experimenting and seeing what works best for you. Discovering what works and what doesn't is part of the fun so get out there and test your camera skills!
Are you going to any fireworks displays this winter or planning to test yourself? I’d love to see the photos you take and I'm willing to answer any questions you might have.
My workshop at Kenilworth Fireworks Display is sell out quickly, so don't miss out next time, book yourself for next years workshop today and learn the secrets to getting professional looking firework images.
Have fun this winter and get shooting!