Fireworks Displays are something that evoke a lot of emotion in people as is also not only beautiful and spectacular to look at but they also are often used to celebrate momentous occasions.
I’ve had many emails from readers asking the way to photograph fireworks displays, quite a few of whom have expressed concern that they might just be way too hard to really photograph. My solution is always a similar – ‘give it a try – you might be surprised at that which you end up with’.
My reason behind this advice is that back when I bought my first recorded Olympus E-M5 Charger one of the primary things I photographed was fireworks and I was surprised by how easy it turned out and how spectacular the results were. I think it’s easier still with a digital camera as you can get immediate feedback as to if the shots you’ve taken are perfect or not then make adjustments.
Of course it’s not really a matter of going out finding a fireworks display – you’ll find, as usual, things you can do to improve your results. With 4 July just around the corner I thought I’d share a couple of fireworks digital photography tips.
How to Photograph: What you have to Know
Perhaps the main tip is usually to secure your photographic camera to something which will ensure it doesn’t move in the taking of your respective shots. This is especially essential in photographing fireworks since you’ll be utilizing longer shutter speeds which will not only capture the movement in the fireworks but any movement from the camera itself. The best way to keep the camera still is which has a tripod (read our series on tripods and how to use and buying them). Alternatively – keep in mind that you will find other non Tripod options for beating camera shake.
One way to ensure your camera is very still during fireworks shots would be to invest in a remote release device. These vary from camera to camera but a majority of have some sort of accessory designed for them. The other strategy for taking shots without touching your camera is usually to use the self timer. This can work however you really need to have the ability to anticipate shots well and its very very hit and miss (continue reading on remote shutter releases).
One in the most difficult aspects of photographing fireworks is working out where to aim you guessed it-your camera. The challenge you’ll face in doing this is you generally should aim the digital camera before the fireworks that you’ll be photographing beeps – anticipation is the vital thing. Here are a few points on getting your framing right.
Scope the location early – Planning is important with fireworks and becoming to the location early in order to obtain a good, unobstructed position is very important. Think about what’s in the foreground and background of your shots and make certain you won’t have people’s heads bobbing up into your shots (also consider what impact you’ll placed on others around you also). Take note of where fireworks are increasingly being set up and what parts with the sky they are likely to be shot into – you might also want to try to ask some of those setting up the display for any little information on what these are planning. Also consider what focal lengths you might want to use and choose appropriate lenses currently (rather than in the middle of the show).
Watch your Horizons – One thing that you should always consider when lining up fireworks shots is whether your camera is even or straight in it’s framing. This is especially important in case you’re going to shooting having a wide focal length and will get other background elements in your shots (ie a cityscape). Keeping horizons straight is a thing we covered previously on this website and is crucial in fireworks shots also. As you get the digital camera on your tripod be sure it’s level starting from the time you set up.
Vertical or Horizontal? – There are two main ways of framing shots in all of the types of photography, vertically (portrait) or horizontally (landscape). Both can work in fireworks photography but I personally locate a vertical perspective is much better – particularly as there is really a lot of 80devypky motion in fireworks. Horizontal shots can work in case you’re choosing more of the landscape shot having a wider focal length of in the event you’re attempting to capture multiple bursts of fireworks inside the one shot – but I don’t tend to go there that often.
Remember your framing – I find that whenever I photograph fireworks that I spend less time looking in my viewfinder plus more looking at the sky directly. As a result it’s important to remember what framing you might have and to look at that segment from the sky. Doing this will also allow you to anticipate the correct time for a shot as you’ll understand the light trails of unexploded rockets shooting into the sun.