02 Jul Photographing fireworks: The basics and then some

Source: DP Review

Photographing fireworks

Here in the U.S. there’s a major summer holiday coming up – one that is celebrated with colorful explosions in the sky. The Fourth of July is traditionally celebrated with grilled meats, red-white-and-blue popsicles and of course, fireworks. If you’ve ever taken a terrible photo of a fireworks display and wondered what went wrong, we’ve got some ideas for you – from the very basics to some simple tips that will help you capture all the majesty of those ‘bombs bursting in air’.

Photographing fireworks

First things first: get your hands on a tripod. You’ll need to steady your camera by any means necessary otherwise the long exposures – anywhere from 2 to 10 seconds or more – needed to capture the fireworks trails will just results in a blurry mess. Something else that can blur your photos is pressing the shutter release button, so a remote release of some sort, whether a cable, remote or smartphone will do the trick.

Next, you’ll want a lens or two that give you a variety of framing options. Depending on where you set up and what obstructions are in your path, a zoom lens will allow you to get your composition just right. It’ll also afford you variety with respect to story-telling: a telephoto focal length allows you to compress city elements with the fireworks as we’ve done here, while a wide-angle field of view will allow you to include different context in your framing, such as the

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