This is a scenic photo taken of red fireworks at the Freedom Fair in Tacoma, Washington on the 4th of July for Independence day. I took this photo on July 4, 2008. Taking photos of fireworks can be a tricky task. The best bet is to take lots and hope you capture a few worth keeping. When taking pictures of fireworks you will want to have a slow shutter speed to capture the light of the fireworks streaming out and an aperture around F/9 to capture a wide depth of field. It is also a good idea to use a tripod since the shutter speed will be slow. You want to capture the slow movement of the firework, but you don’t want to be moving the camera when doing so.
My camera settings for this specific photo were:
- shutter speed: 3 seconds
- lens aperture: f/9
- focal length: 32 mm
- image resolution: 3504 x 2336 pixels
- ISO speed: 100
Step-by-Step of how to take photos of fireworks
- Camera Mode
The best mode for taking photos of fireworks is the manual mode. With this mode you can change the shutter speed and aperture to the best settings.
- ISO Setting
ISO isn’t a big deal when photographing fireworks. You can leave it at 100 or 200 and it won’t really matter. I would say it is better to leave it at a low setting so that grain doesn’t become a factor. This will give your firework photos a nice and clean result.
- Shutter Speed Setting
Use a long exposure. You will want a slow shutter speed, but how slow you choose depends on how many fireworks you want to capture. The slower you set your speed, the more fireworks will appear in your shot. Play around with the exposure you want. A good place to start is around 3 seconds, but you can set it a slow as 30 seconds if you want to get a lot of fireworks in your shot. Try not setting the exposure too long, as then your fireworks will come out too bright.
- Aperture Setting
An ideal aperture setting for firework photos is somewhere between f/5.6 and f/11.
Before taking any photos, be sure to set up your camera on a tripod. When using long exposures for any subject, a tripod is always a good idea. Without it, the photos will come out blurry.
- Remote Shutter Release
A remote shutter release cable is another good idea. This helps to stop your camera from moving when putting down the shutter button. With a shutter release cable, you will not need to touch your camera at all which will minimize any movement of the camera. If you don’t have a remote shutter release cable, you could try using the self-timer function on the camera.
There is no need for using a flash when taking photos of fireworks.
It is a good idea to pre-focus your shot before shooting. You don’t want to be messing around with focusing while the fireworks are going off. If you shoot from a little further back, you can set your lens to manual focus and set it at infinity and then you do not even have to worry about focusing.
Look at the gallery below to see some more of my favorite photos of fireworks that I have photographed.