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Pointers by Paul's Photo

Shooting Photos of Fireworks

Fireworks photography is amazing fun and yields spectacular results.

To photograph fireworks you need a camera with interchangeable lenses and MANUAL shutter speed, f-stop and focus control along with a sturdy tripod and wired remote release (your camera’s branded wired release works best).

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 photo. 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 (70-200mm) works best to capture the burst in the sky while a normal zoom lens (24-70mm) is best for a foreground with the fireworks behind.. Try it and see if you like it! The greatest advantage of digital photography is looking at your photos during the excitement!

Choose 100 or 200 ISO (digital or film). Manually focus your lens to infinity, manually set the shutter speed to "bulb" or "B" and use your wired remote release. Set the camera so you may hold the shutter open for as long as you like (we will be shooting 2 to 30 second exposures). Set the aperture manually to f-11 or f-16. You may "bracket" between 11 and 16 if you choose. Watch the fireworks and determine the exact location in the sky. Fine-tune your positioning. 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). Now hold the shutter open for two complete bursts. Hold the shutter open for 3 or 4 bursts. NOTE: the app for your camera or wireless remotes rarely give satisfactory results.

If you have a foreground subject check the proper exposure for that object. I generally find 10-20 seconds exposure brings detail into the foreground.

Experiment, have fun and enjoy shooting on the FOURTH of JULY! Be sure to let me know how your fireworks photos develop and post them on the Paul’s Photo and the

Creative Photo Academy Instagram & Facebook Pages,

use #paulsphoto and #creativephotoacademy!