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Photography How To - Fireworks

It is that time of year where everyone wants to know “How to Photography Fire Works”. I have been getting messages all month asking how do I set my camera to shoot fire works.

Though I think the settings are really important I think many people forget that there is more to photography than just the settings, theres the mentality behind it. I personally have not shot fireworks, i have seen them, I have enjoyed them and now I want to shoot them.

For the past couple weeks I have been doing a lot of research and asking my photographer friends a lot of questions about how to photography fire works. I have come up with some basic settings for you to try out and tweak on the fly.

Click MORE for the HOW TO

1. Aperture – F8 or F11 seems to be a sweet spot for capturing fire works. Remember what you are shooting is very bright, so the higher F number will be better for making sure the colors pop.

2. Focus – Set your focus or try and focus on a landmark that you want to be in focus and lock it in. DO NOT try to auto focus.

3. ISO – You may think you need to bump your ISO because your shooting at night but lower ISO’s will be better 100/200/400.

4. Shutter Speed – Your best bet will be to set your camera to BULB and use a shutter release if you have one to open and close the shutter. The Bulb setting means that when you press the shutter the shutter stays open until you take your finger off of it. If your camera does not have bulb you can set it to 30 seconds 20 seconds 10 seconds or less and see what works. Don’t stick with one setting the whole time, experiment and see what is working the best.

4. Be on a TriPod – IF you have a tripod now may be a good time to be on it. It is also recommended that you use a cable release to trigger the camera so that you do not encounter and shaking of the camera. If you don’t have a cable release you can try timer mode which I did not mention in the video. This will mean that you press the button and after two seconds or so the shutter will open. This will give you a better shot and keeping your images free of camera shake.

5. Mentality – This is what I think is more important than anything else in photography in general. You have your settings, you are on location ready to shoot but what is in your mind, what are you going to shoot. I would suggest not going out and thinking I am just going to shoot big bursts of fire works in the sky. Put some context around your images, are there landmarks that will be lit up from the fireworks, are there kids with their parents in the crowd that would make for a cool photo with fireworks in the sky? Think about other things other than just shooting fireworks in the sky. Have a game plan when you go out that says, find a great spot to shoot from, this is how I will test my settings, this is the lens or lenses that I will use, these are the images I am looking to get. Remember there is more to photography than just your settings.

In closing go out there and have fun, test your settings, review your first few images on the fly and corse correct where needed.

Have a great time and be safe. Oh yea and always SHOOT RAW.