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How to Photograph Fireworks

Taking photographs of fireworks can be exciting and very rewarding. Now with digital technology you can check the process of your work and adjust accordingly. Unless you’re running out of space on your memory card, don't delete until you have seen all the results on your computer, as images might be better than you first thought. With the right preparation you can achieve wonderful images like this one.


How to Photograph Fireworks

1 x DSLR Camera

1 x Standard Lens to Telephoto Lens and (18-135mm/18-200mm or with a full frame DSLR Camera 24-70mm/24-105mm)

1 x Tripod

1 x Remote Cable

1 x Small torch/penlight

1x Blanket/ground sheet and or chair (optional)

1x lens cap or black card


1. Attach the lens to the camera and secure to your tripod. A standard zoom is good so that you can choose either a landscape showing a wider view or later zoom in to do some shots of just the fireworks. Make sure when you set up that you have a clear view of where the fireworks will happen (unless you want silhouettes of people's heads etc in your image as well).If you don't want too much smoke and haze in your shot on a windy night make sure you are not down wind.

2. If you want bring a blanket or ground sheet not only for your camera equipment but it gives you room to spread out so you are not crowded with people (that may knock your camera as well).A portable chair will also be useful as you may be waiting awhile after you have set up.

3. Check your composition by making sure you have allowed enough room for the fireworks in the sky and look for areas that will give a nice reflection like the water in the foreground of this photograph. Make sure your horizontals and verticals are all nice and straight when you frame your image.

4. You don't need to have the top of the range camera equipment and you don't have to have a fast (low aperture for e.g. 2.8) expensive lens. Attach your remote cable and take a few tests shots and set your focus. Make sure your camera is set for B - bulb which allows you to keep the shutter for as long as you want until you release the switch on your remote cable. Have a closed aperture of f8 or even higher as more fireworks are deployed later in the show (so be careful not to over expose).

5. Listen carefully if you can to the sound of the discharge of the sky rocket and follow the small flame heading skyward with the remote shutter clicked on. After the magnificent colourful explosion starts to collapse remove finger from remote cable. Sometimes you will get many explosions at once which look great.

6. If you want to do multiple shots on the one image (for e.g. adding another explosion to the right or left hand side of your image) less fireworks are deployed earlier in the show so this may be a good time to try. This can be achieved by removing your lens cap off and on while still recording your exposure with the remote cable. You have to be careful not to bump your camera so you may want to cover the lens on and off with a small black card or black painted piece of poly instead.

7. Remember to have your camera on manual so you have total control and set a low ISO (eg 100 for maximum quality).

8. Shoot like no ones watching™

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