How to Shoot Fireworks
With the 4th of July coming up tomorrow (The 4th is Independance Day in the US, and we celebrate with Fireworks), I thought I’d run a quick blurb from Vol. 1 of my book, The Digital Photography Book on how to shoot Fireworks (like I did last year around this time). Here ya go:
Youll need to shoot fireworks with your camera on a tripod, because youre going to need a slow enough shutter speed to capture the falling light trails, which is what youre really after.
Also, this is where using a cable release really pays off, because youll need to see the rockets trajectory to know when to push the shutter buttonif youre looking in the viewfinder instead, it will be more of a hit or miss proposition.
Next, use a zoom lens (ideally a 200mm or more) so you can get in tight and capture just the fireworks themselves. If you want fireworks and the background (like fireworks over Cinderellas Castle at Disney World), then use a wider lens.
Now, I recommend shooting in full Manual mode, because you just set two settings and youre good to go:
- Set the Shutter Speed to 4 seconds
- Set the Aperture to f/11. Fire a test shot and look at the LCD monitor on the back of your camera to see if you like the results. If it overexposes, lower the shutter speed to 3 seconds, then take another shot and check the results again.
TIP: If your camera has Bulb mode (where the shutter stays open as long as you hold down the shutter release button down), this works greathold the shutter button down when the rocket bursts, then release when the light trails start to fade. (By the way; most Canon and Nikon digital SLRs have bulb mode). The rest is timingbecause now youve got the exposure and sharpness covered.
Here’s wishing you all a safe and happy fourth, and I hope you capture some great images this year!