My 10 tips for photographing fireworks


With the International Whitehaven Festival starting this week I posted in a recent thread on Flickr about some tips on taking firework photos.    I hope this is useful…

10 top firework tips from me;

  1. Use a tripod!  And also use a remote shutter release so that you don’t transmit vibrations when you press the shutter button on the camera with your finger.
  2. Make sure you have a full battery and lots and lots of memory card space (obvious but you’ll be surprised!).
  3.  If your camera struggles to focus in low light, set it up before hand while it’s light and switch your lens to Manual focus and don’t touch it.
  4. Don’t use auto modes (including Aperture and Shutter priorities). Use manual.  And turn the flash off 🙂
  5. Shooting in raw instead of JPG will give you better pictures. But be aware that raw will use a lot more memory card space and you may need to process each shot individually depending on what software you use.
  6. Exposure?  Get the right amount of ambient light with the shutter speed, a few seconds should be enough for each shot. Adjust the aperture to get the exposure on the fireworks right and use your ISO to control the overall brightness of the scene..
  7. Don’t use a long exposure because the results will just be a complete mess of whited-out over-exposed-ness. Instead, try to time each main burst from start to finish.
  8. Don’t be afraid to blend two or more shot together afterwards to get the shot you need.
  9. Don’t get in anyone’s way!
  10. Don’t forget to enjoy the show! I’ve shot loads of fireworks where I’ve concentrated so much on the pictures I didn’t get time to enjoy it.

4th July Fireworks in Whitehaven


The new management at Sellafield Limited here in Cumbria are American.  They put on a spectacular 4th July fireworks display and my shoot went well.  I managed to shoot for the entire duration and then picked the best of them in post-production.

Fireworks in Whitehaven

I think the next time this happens I’ll be moving closer to the water to get the reflections.

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