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How to Photograph Fireworks

How to Photograph Fireworks

It’s hard to believe, but Independence Day is coming up fast. After a year spent away from friends and family, this July 4th will be an even more spectacular celebration than in years past. To help document this festive occasion, you’ll want to capture the fireworks show that will undoubtedly be the grand finale of your get-together. Here’s everything you need to know to photograph fireworks like a pro.   


Lens Choice
With the heat that coincides with this time of year, you don’t want to be bogged down by every lens you own. One of the best lenses to bring along when photographing fireworks is a wide angle lens like the Sony FE 24mm F2.8 G Full Frame Ultra Compact Wide Angle G Lens from A wide angle lens will ensure you capture the largest starburst fireworks of the grand finale. Depending on where you’re going to be set up when photographing the fireworks, you may need to also take along a telephoto lens.


The Right Camera
When photographing fireworks this 4th of July, you’ll want to shoot in manual mode. To keep your firework photography sharp and colorful, you’ll want to avoid digital noise. This is done by keeping your ISO less than 200. It’s easy to switch to manual mode and lower your ISO if you have a mirrorless camera like the Nikon Z5 4K Mirrorless Full Frame Camera from The Nikon Z6 is not only a great choice for still images of fireworks, but also a great choice when shooting time-lapse and video. Shooting with a longer shutter speed will help you capture those breath-taking trails that fall through the sky. The longer the shutter speed, the longer the trails will appear. Remember flash isn’t necessary when photographing fireworks.

Use a Tripod
Besides a camera and lens, a tripod is an essential piece of equipment when photographing fireworks. The tripod will reduce the motion blur that comes with using a slow shutter speed to photograph fireworks. Find a tripod that’s sturdy enough to manage the weight of your camera and lens, but light enough to easily carry.

A Different Perspective
Want to really put a different spin on your fireworks photography this year? Try photographing fireworks with a drone for a unique perspective. Photographing fireworks using a drone will give you a vantage point unattainable by most other photographers on the 4th of July. Always follow FAA guidelines when flying your drone.

Capture More than the Fireworks
There’s no denying that photographing fireworks in the night sky is beautiful. Including other elements in the frame will also add visual interest. Try including some foreground elements, including people, to add some context to your fireworks photography. A meaningful landmark, building, or even a tree just to break up the horizon can add so much to your fireworks photography. The easiest way to achieve this effect is to simply focus on the foreground element and take the shot while properly exposing the foreground. Take a couple of shots. Then refocus on the fireworks without changing the composition and keep shooting. This will give you a separate exposure for the foreground and one for the background. You can blend these during post-processing.  


There’s really no end to the creative fireworks photography you’ll be able to create using this equipment and tips.

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