Every year my social media feeds are filled with people sharing their firework and sparkler photos. The majority of them are blurry, cut off or focused on the wrong thing. Now, I know these are meant to be fun, but with a few tips you can have great firework photos too! Yes, even using your smartphone!
Now, I want to start out saying, be prepared for a lot of bad photos. Fireworks and sparklers are very hard to shoot and even professionals can’t get every single one right. Do not worry, just have fun and take lots of photos. (In this digital age, there is a thing called the delete button!! Delete the ones that are not Pinterest-worthy and enjoy your holiday!!)
* Slow it down First thing, I recommend getting a slow shutter app or if your camera has a fireworks mode, use that. To get good shots you need to slow down your shutter speed. This means it will take 2-3 seconds to take a photo. This will also give the sparkler holder time to write words or draw patterns! If you aren’t sure what your particular phone / camera can do, look it up. Preparation is key! (I have a “pro” camera app that I downloaded for my phone that gives me the option to change settings and has a “fireworks” mode)
* Use a Tripod Now, when the shutter is slow it is imperative that your camera is steady. Use a tripod / camera mount or something to make sure that camera doesn’t move! Otherwise, your photos will be blurry!
* Turn off the flash You want your sparklers or fireworks to be the only light source otherwise the will be too bright or your camera will focus on the surroundings and not the fireworks. If you want to get creative and try to have a person in front of the fireworks or see the face of the person holding the sparklers, have a flashlight handy and flash it on them while your camera is taking the photo. (Most shutter speeds for fireworks will be about 3 – 4 seconds so just a quick light on their faces should be fine.) I personally don’t do this because the timing has to be perfect for it to work right and I want to enjoy it, not stress about getting the perfect shot. But, if you want to practice and get creative.. this is a fun trick to try!
* Don’t Zoom Believe it or not you actually lose quality in your photos when you zoom.
Also to note, watch out for other light sources that may interfere with your photos. Street lights, yard lights, even white buildings will reflect light. You want the fireworks / sparklers to be your only light source. And watch out for other objects in the frame that your camera may focus on like buildings or the back of someone’s head that is sitting in front of you… Go out, have fun, make memories and have great photos! If you use these tips and post your images online, tag me on Facebook : Tricia Lewis Photography or Instagram tricialewisphotography_