Top 10 Fireworks Photo Tips

by Rachel B Posted on June 30, 2010

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Do your fireworks photos disappoint? Do you wonder why those light shows never look as good in print as they do in person? Try the below tips this Fourth Of July, and turn your photo disappointment into photo success!

(Image by Mike G in Newfields)

1. Extra Memory Cards – the more photos you can take, the better chance you have of walking away with some great shots

2. Keep your finger on the button – prevent ‘camera shake’ by not releasing the shutter button right away

3. Focus faraway - fireworks explode far away from you. To record them clearly, set your digital camera focus to infinity. If your digital camera has preset focus modes, look for the mountain icon either on a camera switch or in a menu

4. Tripod is a must - tripods are key in making your fireworks photos crisp. If you can’t bring a tripod, make sure you brace your camera, or your hands (holding the camera) on something solid

5. Location location location – location also plays an important role. Avoid streetlights that may outshine the brightness of the fireworks. Also choose a spot that’s not highly trafficked, in order to avoid people walking in front of your shot

6. No flash - using flash won’t do a thing for you

(Image by MariaK287)

7. Higher ISO
- try increasing your digital camera’s ISO setting from 100 to 200 (check your manual for details) in order to shorten exposure time. Your photo might look a little grainy, but this shouldn’t be too noticeable.

8. Filler – to fill the empty space of the night sky, try incorporating a landmark into your photo – a building, statue, etc…

9. Angle it – try tilting your camera to add more variety/interest to your photo

10. High Exposure – to capture the full effect of those fireworks, set your camera’s exposure time (shutter speed) to between .5 and 4 seconds

(Image by MariaK287)

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  1. ElleSnaps Says:

    Gorgeous images!!! Wow!! Fireworks are so hard for me to photograph. I know that I will try some of these tips this coming weekend! Great article!

  2. Joey Says:

    Love these tips Rachel, and exactly what i was looking for. Last Friday night after the ball game they had a huge firework display. Only one out of the 20 i took looks decent. The others are smoky. So maybe i didn’t press the shutter fast enough. I meant to read my manual before but forgot. I’ll give it a try this weekend. The above images are amazing!
    Perfect timing for this article.

  3. AnnAbbott Says:

    Great tips for the upcoming weekend 4th fest!

  4. BarbaraJ Says:

    Great article and thanks for the tips. I will use them this weekend. Happy 4th to you and all that enjoy your article. bj

  5. shannonr Says:

    perfect timimg, I love taking pics of fireworks but 1 out of every 20 might actually be worth viewing afterwards….LOL! After reading your article I think I will definitely set up my tripod this year. Thanks for the tips and I will certainly be trying them out at our local firework shows :)

  6. curicogirl Says:

    happy 4th of July! Great tips rachel! Thanks so much… I will be testing some of these out. I love fireworks and I love capturing fireworks on film too.

  7. jennyd Says:

    I second the tripod recommendation. I didn’t even alter my camera’s settings a few years ago, other than to turn off flash, and a tripod made all the difference in the world. The photos looked fantastic. Thank you for the awesome advice :) Now I just need to convince the hubby to take me to some fireworks this year so I can play around!

  8. babygiggles Says:

    I love yout articles but how can I set my cam to focus to infinity?? also, I use a shutter remote and that makes a great difference!

  9. Natalie Says:

    Your photos are amazing Rachel! Great tips, fun holidays, i can’t wait! See you next week with some new photos!
    Natalie B
    Shutterfly Gallery Guru

  10. Jean B Says:

    Rachel – This is a great article for the upcoming weekend! I hope we’ll be where we can see fireworks … because tips 7, 9 & 10 are going to be what I will work on! :0)

  11. rgpighetti Says:

    Rachel, I’m Jean’s sister. I just got a new Canon Rebel Ti1. I’m learning lots and these tips will be very helpful this weekend. Thank you and have a great weekend!

  12. rsheedy Says:

    Excellent tips. I love fireworks photos, and yet they are so hard to capture. I will definitely be putting these tips to good use this weekend. :)

  13. tlittle164 Says:

    Love the pics and the tips. I plan on trying them out tonight. Can’t wait.

more about Rachel B

Thank you for visiting “Picture More”, Shutterfly's Community Blog. My name is Rachel, and I come from a long line of photo enthusiasts. My grandparents kept a large (and heavy!) collection of family photo albums in their living room, which my sister and I loved looking through. My mother continued the tradition by becoming a hobby photographer (phrases like “smile, “hold that pose” and “let me get my camera” were a constant part of our lives). Now my sister and I are avid camera fans. She takes beautiful pictures of her children, and I enjoy capturing the many far-away places my husband and I visit. What I love about Shutterfly is that it helps me turn my photos into meaningful keepsakes like photo books, calendars, and photo gifts (I love my coasters, posters, mug and mouse pad!). My memories are now a part of my everyday life, not living in a shoe box or hard drive. And what I love about "Picture More" is that it will help us get even more creative with our pictures. I'm excited to exchange ideas with all of you!

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