If you’re going to attempt photography of NON BLURRY 😉 fireworks this year, here are 10 things to consider. Read the ones that apply to you and enjoy the night
For my DSLR friends
1. Bring a tripod and a shutter release cable (not both necessary but both will help with the vibrations/camera shake)
2. Use Manual Mode, the camera will try to adjust exposure for fireworks and background and get confused and give you overexposed and underexposed shots but none really the way you’d want your pictures to turn out. Using manual mode will also really help you learn photography.
3. Use Manual Focus, only after prefocusing using automatic focus on the fireworks using the first few bursts. Use the first burst to autofocus on the fireworks and then lock it in manual afterwards to avoid the camera from searching for a focus point and delaying your ability to release the shutter.
4. Suggested range: ISO 100-200, keeps noise and grain to a minimum
5. Suggested range: Shutter speed 1-5 seconds, enough to expose for one or two bursts
6. Suggested range: f/8 – f/11, allows the shutter speed to be longer and also puts more of the burst and in focus
7. Take a few shots before the fireworks begin to check your exposure and gauge other lighting (street lights, car headlights, etc) that may affect your shots and adjust accordingly
8. Underexpose your images in your test shots a little because the firework flashes will introduce additional light to balance out the underexposed non-firework shots.
Tips for non-DSLR photographers
1. For point and shoots, use the fireworks mode (it is a generally a preset with similar settings to the ones I listed in 4-6) A tripod is still helpful but a railing or table will do.
2. For camera phones, on the first burst of the fireworks, lock your focus and exposure by holding down on the screen when you see the fireworks and the remaining photos for the night will go by much smoother because the phone will not want to refocus.
Bonus tip: An easy way to reduce on camera shake is hitting the shutter button on DSLR, point and shoot or camera phone on the end of an exhale.