Sunday, 4 July 2010

How to photograph fireworks

My Quick Shots inbox has had a sudden flood of questions overnight regarding photographing fireworks. Here in the UK fireworks only come out at the beginning of November as we celebrate Bonfire Night or for New Years Eve of course.

But fireworks are part of celebrations all over the world and at different times of the year. This Photo was taken in Italy during Ferragosto (Assumption Day)which happens on August 15th.

So why the question today? Well today is 4th July, independence day in the USA. So, here’s my firework photography advice.

1) You’re going to need to get your camera on a tripod as the exposures will be long, far longer then you can do hand held.

2) Switch the camera to manual mode (M on your camera) and enter an aperture of f8 and a shutter speed of 2 seconds.

3) Point your camera to where the fireworks will be and wait.

4) As the fireworks go off take a shot and review the result.
If the sky is too bright use a smaller aperture (f11, f16 etc)
If the firework trails are too small use a longer shutter speed.

Extra tips
A cable release is very hand for this work. It stops you touching and therefore moving the camera which can cause blurred images. If your camera is having trouble focusing switch for manual focus and set it to infinity. Finally, don't use flash.

6 comments:

Valentin said...

Now just need a fireworks :P

cristi said...

How do you focus to infinity? Thanks

Richard Hyatt said...

Thanks Gavin. I will be using your comments tonight as we celebrate Independence Day today, July 4th, 2011. A new nation born in 1776! You have been a great inspiration with your photography and Photoshop videos. Thanks again.

Justin Hardigree said...

haha.. i figured all this out by experimenting yesterday in Dawsonville, Georgia.. its really hard finding a medium in witch the foreground, witch was people for me, and the fireworks were lit up. i could never get it to where the people were lit up without the fireworks and the whole sky being blown out.. tho i was hovering around 0"6 and 0"8.. and with a huge aperture

MArch8ight said...

Thank for advice this will come in handy. Happy 4th of July everyone.

Yuji said...

Gavin, thank you for the wonderful tips. You are always straight to the point. I will give it a try on 14 July (I am in Paris at the moment)

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