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Pointers by Paul's Photo

How to Photograph Fireworks

So you want to shoot fireworks? This is what you will need for the best results:

1. Camera with MANUAL shutter speed, f-stop and focus control.

2. Sturdy Tripod with wired remote release.

3. 24-70mm lens for fireworks with interesting foreground

4. 70-200mm lens for detail on the bursts.

1. Choose 100 or 200 iso (digital or film).

2. Pre-select your location before the festivities begin. Look for a location free from obstruction by trees, power lines or other distractions. It is also best to avoid street-lamps or other lights in the foreground or background.

3. Preset your camera and lens on the tripod to capture approximately the area of the sky where you envision the bursts to occur. Generally a medium telephoto lens (100-200mm) works best. Try it and see if you like it!

4. Manually focus to infinity, manually set the shutter speed to "bulb" or "B" and use your remote release. Set the aperture manually to f-8, 11 or 16.

5. Choose Sunny or Tungsten (Incandescent) White Balance

6. Set the camera so you may hold the shutter open for as long as you like (we will be shooting 10-30 second exposures). You may "bracket" between 8, 11 or 16 if you choose.

7. Watch the fireworks and determine the exact location in the sky. Fine-tune your positioning.

8. Be careful NOT to move the focus off Infinity

9. Get ready.... SHOOT! Hold the shutter open for one complete burst.... 8 to 12 seconds (press the remote release and hold...let go when your exposure is finished)

10. Now hold the shutter open for two complete bursts.

11. Hold the shutter open for 3 or 4 bursts.

12. Experiment and have fun!