Few things spark that sense of awe like a well-done fireworks show. But capturing those special moments on film – especially at night – can be tricky.
Here are some tips to help you get the perfect shots this Independence Day.
1. DO have the right equipment. A camera with manual controls and a tripod is crucial, and a remote shutter release is highly reccomended. Setting the camera on manual allows you to control the focus of your pictures, and a tripod provides a stable place to rest the camera while taking shots, which also allows you to join the photo fun!
2. DON’T use the flash. A flash is not necessary for capturing fireworks displays since it’s already brighter than the light we normally photograph. Turn off your flash setting and let the natural light take control.
3. DO use a lens that is wide enough to capture a more visible area than you think you need. You don’t want to miss the candid shots of your kids running around while the fireworks are in motion.
4. DON’T be afraid to reposition. When the fireworks start going off, look at your preview screen and reposition your camera to frame the images the way you want. Feel free to move the tripod around and make sure the landscape is captured as you intend.
5. DO lower your film speed. Lowering your film speed (or ISO in tech terms) reduces the opportunity for shadows, color specs, and grain and makes for a clearer image. Because the fireworks you are capturing will be very bright, 100 ISO is an ideal place to start.
6. DON’T forget to adjust the f-stop. The f-stop measures lens aperture and will show you if the firework photos are over or under exposed. If colored fireworks are white and not well defined, the shot is overexposed and the f-stop number needs to be increased. If the fireworks aren’t bright enough, the aperture needs to be opened by reducing the f-stop number.
7. DO adjust your shutter speed. Because the length of each firework blast varies, setting your shutter speed to B instead of a pre-determined setting will allow you to control how long your camera’s shutter is open to capture blasts. The B setting allows you to keep the shutter open for as long as you press it to capture the perfect shot.
So whether you’re shooting photos of the fireworks to show the kids the next day (little ones tend to fall asleep before the show starts) or just trying to get a great collection together for some awesome wall art, keep these tips ready – along with your camera.
Enjoy the fireworks display and be prepared to snap the greatest photos ever!