How to Photograph Fireworks Display
|A single firecracker lit the sky|
The Gear List:
|Too close to the event won't fit all in the frame, staying far enough is recommended to fill the frame properly||Patience is one of the key element but it's no gear|
|A clear and wide view is recommended to compose additional elements|
Before The Shooting Starts:
- Mount your camera on the tripod.
- Attached the cable release or set your camera to remote release mode.
- Set focus to manual ( 'M' ) and then focus to infinity.
- Set exposure to manual ('M')
- Set aperture f16/f22/f32 whichever highest 'f' number available in your lens.
- Set shutter speed to 2 sec or more.
- Set the ISO to lowest available one e.g. ISO 100
- Compose the frame in landscape position with top half covering sky where cracker will burst and the bottom half includes people, building, trees, lake etc.
- Take a test shots and adjust the frame if required.
- Seat back and wait till the event starts
The shooting:Once the first firecracker is launched, it's time to press the shutter release button through your cable release or remote release. Be sure to check the following while you shoot.
- Check the first photo to verify your frame composition is as per your setup. You may need to adjust a little bit up or down, left or right.
- Increase or decrease the shutter speed based on the frequency of firecrackers launch
- Protect the setup, people may accidentally trip or shake your tripod
- Make sure, camera didn't run out of battery.
- Check every photo in the camera LCD after shutter is closed. Adjust the frame if required.
|Shot from far and wide, steady tripod mounting is important|
Other Tricks:Most of the time, the firecrackers would cover a small area in the frame while the rest of the frame is completely dark, especially the sky part. There are two main ways to get the whole frame full of fireworks lights.
- Use Long Exposure ( 15 sec or more) : There are usually 2 to 5 secs gap between subsequent launch. Shoot the first set on the left or right side of the frame. Then, rotate the tripod head to frame the next set of fireworks in the middle of the frame. Note, it's dark between the launch so the camera would not record anything even if you adjust the frame while the shutter is still open. Record the 3rd set of launch on the other side of the frame. Now you have the full frame of lights.
- Use multiple exposure ( 2 or 3 ) : Set your camera in multiple exposure mode and adjust the frame between each exposure.
|Long exposure, shot from far and wide, about 1/2 mile away from the event|
|Post processed in Photoshop CS using layer mask. The left and right sides contains the same image.|