Make Your Best Fireworks Photos this 4th!

Making great fireworks shots is not as complicated as you may think. With the right approach and gear, you too can capture an amazing Independence Day fireworks shot. There are just a few main keys to success:

Steady, steady and more steady. Capturing shots like the one below requires a long shutter speed to let the light build up over a period of time. You want to capture the movement of the light without moving the camera, so using a tripod is an absolute. Fortunately you can pick one up starting around $25.

Jenise Jensen Breck NY Eve Fireworks-6820 CompEven the slightest movement or bump will render your shot blurry, this result is often called “camera shake”. Image on right simulated.


Use your free self-timer too. Nearly every camera has a built-in self-timer, by using it, your camera has time to settle and steady itself before the shutter opens to capture the photo. Some fancier cameras are equipped with a 2 or 10 second timer. Use it!

If you are really ambitious, and depending on your camera you can purchase either a cable release or electronic timer accessory. Come in and ask us which one will work on your camera. Otherwise use the timer you already have built in to your camera.

MIconUse your manual exposure mode. This part is a little less concrete. You will definitely be using long shutter speeds, but you’ll have to experiment with the exact times for your situation. Too short and you won’t capture the entire ball. Too long and the shot will be overexposed (too bright).

Set your camera to Manual and select an ISO of around 400 and the aperture to around f/8. Then you can start experimenting with shutter speeds. Start with 3-5 seconds and go from there to find your sweet spot.

AFMFSwitchAutofocus then set to manual focus. Pointing your camera at the dark night’s sky and attempting to focus will be tricky. Try to autofocus on some of the first fireworks, and when the camera locks on you can slide your AF/MF switch to MF. The lens is now set to that distance for the remainder of your shots. You won’t have to worry about focusing the rest of the evening. Because you are using f/8 even if the next fireworks are slightly further or closer the deeper aperture will keep them sharp.

Go out and make some shots! Practice makes perfect. If you make one you’re especially proud of send it to us, we will share it on our blog and social media!

Share your fireworks shot with us!

Featured photos by Jenise Jensen
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