Firework photography is actually real simple and capturing spectacular blasts of color is super impressive! Here are some of the Best Digital SLR Manual Camera Settings for 4th of July Photography!
1. Find a great location. Most viewing areas will be dense with spectators, but the good news is as long as you don’t have a very tall object obstructing your view, every seat at a firework show is typically a good one. If you want to capture pictures of your kids watching the show, you may need to claim a little more space. In our area, we know the location of the best fireworks displays,
A few years ago we decided to scout out our very own Fort Worth’s best kept secret location for watching fireworks. We gather up our kids scooters and fun snacks and meet our friends for a relaxed setting without the mobs. Chances are there are parking lots or garages that haven’t yet been discovered in your area as well!?!
Show up early so you can get your camera where you’d like it before it gets dark. Try to avoid shooting near streetlights, as they will look like a glowing blog in your photograph. And bring a flashlight just in case you need to adjust your settings in the dark. The exact location of your firework shows is always a bit of a surprise; you can make last minute adjustments once the show begins.
2. Just about any lens will work when photographing fireworks because the aperture setting doesn’t need to be real low, anywhere between f/8 and f/16 is perfect for firework photography. Because of the distance of firework shows, a zoom lens is the ideal.
3. If you’re looking to get magazine ready photographs, a tripod and remote combination is the perfect solution. When capturing fireworks, the exposure will be set to be open for a long time and any motion will cause the fireworks to appear jagged. A motionless camera without a tripod can also capture great results.
4. Now you’re ready for the manual settings, right. Change your ISO to 100 for the lowest noise possible. For your shutter speed, here’s a fun new option to explore, ‘bulb!’ Crank your shutter speed down as low as it will go until you reach ‘bulb.’ New, right! Fun stuff! This setting will allow you to press the shutter release on your camera or tripod and holding the button as long as you’d like will keep the lens open until you’ve captured the firework. Usually, you’ll want to leave it open 2-10 seconds.
Firework shows are constant, so if you’ve missed the one you intended to capture, leave the shutter open and the next will be on its way! Keep the aperture between f/8 and f/16…depending on how far away you are from the show. As fun as it is to watch the rapid bursts of fireworks, it doesn’t capture as well in photography. Too many bursts within one photo may be a little too much busyness – often simple is best. Capture a photograph and then check your settings, adjusting your aperture if necessary.
5. Enjoy! The setting up the Best digital SLR manual camera settings for 4th of July Photography is only part of the equation…BE Creative! As impressive as fireworks are, capturing firework photos with your children watching usually are my personal favorite. Instead of using your flash, shine your flashlight on your subjects and focus in on their excitement and allow the fireworks to be in the background. Have a blast and capture lots of pictures leading up to the excitement of the big moment! Unless you’re writing a book on fireworks, if you only capture 1-2 great shots you can consider yourself successful as you add your collection of 4th of July memories to your scrapbook!