Ah, the annual celebration of independence, cut grass, BBQ, and the smoke of firecrackers.

As photographers, there’s no doubt we won’t be capturing those beautiful fireworks. But in order to get those great shots of firework photography, here are some tips:

1. Tripod, tripod, tripod

There’s so way of getting around them if you want to capture decent images of fireworks. Your shutter is going to be open for a few seconds, so like time-lapses and long exposure shots, a tripod is always needed. Just make sure to have an appropriate tripod that can handle your camera’s weight.

2. Use a handheld shutter release or timer remote

Some cameras already come with internal timers and intervelometers, but when it comes to shooting fireworks, you’ll need a handheld shutter release or timer remote. Eliminating the element of movement from your camera during those long exposures can make the difference between a blurry shot from a clear one.

3. Set your camera to bulb

You can set your camera at a shutter speed between 2-10 seconds, but you can also shoot fireworks on bulb mode. That allows you to manually open and close the shutter depending on the type of firework display. If there are continuous fireworks, keep the shutter open for 6 or 7 seconds. But if it’s a burst of fireworks, you should hold down the shutter for 2 or 3 seconds.

4. Use a mid-range f-stop

It’s night time and I need to bump my f-stop that high?! Yes, because while it is dark out, the fireworks are very bright. Using a higher f-stop allows you to capture the details and colors as opposed to white streaks all over the place. A higher f-stop creates thinner streaks and vice versa for lower f-stops.

5. Turn off the auto focus

In order for your camera to focus, you need light. The only time there is light is when you want to be taking the picture. Try and set your focus on the first firework and keep it on manual. You can even tape down your focus ring just in case.

6. Claim your spot

Like Disneyland, you gotta find and know the best places to stand to see the fireworks. Sometimes places will get busy, so you will have to get there early. The best shots happen in the first few minutes when there’s no smoke in the air.

7. Make your pictures your own

Firework pictures are everywhere. If you search the hashtag #firework on Instagram, there are over 6 million of them! While it is hard to find variance on these types of photos, try something new! Experiment. Try and capture new parts of the show. Fill your picture with context or your surrounding. Try to emulate what it was like to be there.

Following these tips will help you capture some great shots of fireworks this 4th of July. Remember these tips and of course, don’t forget to have fun, all the while being safe.

What are you planning on shooting this weekend? Share your tips and pictures on Instagram and in the comment section below!

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