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 Photographing Fireworks

With the 4th of July approaching here are some tips on getting good fireworks shots

1. Keep the direction of the wind, if there is any, in mind when choosing a location to
shoot from, and make sure you’re ready to shoot when the fireworks start. By the end of
the show there can be a lot of smoke, making for hazy photos.


2. Consider ahead of time how you want to frame your shots. Do you want a wide-angle
view of the whole scene, or close-ups of the fireworks filling the frame? Remember that
it can be difficult to take close-ups because you don’t always know exactly where in the
sky the fireworks will be.


3. Use a tripod! You will need to use long shutter speeds to get the streaks of light that
make fireworks photos so beautiful. If you don’t have a tripod, or won’t be watching the
show from a location that allows for one, look for something sturdy, like a ledge or tree
trunk to rest your camera on

.
4. Turn off your flash! The fireworks are going to be far away, so your flash will have no
effect on that part of your image. The most it will do is illuminate the smoke in the air,
distracting from the main point of the shot.


5. Consider using a cable release, or self-timer mode to avoid shaking the camera when
you hit the shutter button.


6. Use the lowest ISO your camera has. You’re going to want to do long exposures and
using a low ISO will allow you to do that without overexposing your shots.


7. Use manual mode if your camera has it. As a starting point for figuring out exposure,
set your camera to f/11 and try a shutter speed of 2 seconds. If your images are too
dark, open up the aperture (set it to a lower number), and if the images are too light,
close it down. If your camera doesn’t have a wide range of aperture settings, you can
control the exposure with the shutter speed, but keep in mind that the faster the shutter
speed the shorter the streaks of light in your images will be. You can also use BULB
mode if your camera offers it. In BULB mode the shutter will stay open as long as you
hold down the shutter button, allowing you to sync your exposures with the show.


8. Chances are you’ll be far enough away from the fireworks to get them in sharp focus
with your camera set at infinity. If not, you may want to move farther back! Take a test
shot and make sure your focus is correct, and then switch your camera into manual
focus mode. This will save you the frustration of missing shots because your camera
was busy trying to focus.


9. Set your white balance to ‘daylight.’ If you leave it on Auto the white balance is likely
to change from shot to shot as it tries to correct for the color of the fireworks.


10. Take a lot of pictures! You’re much more likely to get the perfect shot if you take as
many pictures as you can. And with digital, why not?

All images are copyright by the photographer and are not to be used for any purpose without permission.

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