Remember, remember the 5th of November? Well I hope so, it’s Guy Fawkes night! Which means fireworks will be popping all over the country and you may be popping out to capture them. But as we all know photographing something so unpredictable can be a bit of a challenge. For those who are new to photography or haven’t taken photos of fireworks before, we’ve pulled together the best tips and advice for taking the best photographs of fireworks.
It goes without saying that you want to stand in the best spot possible with minimal up close obstructions; such as trees, buildings and people. It’s best to get there early, find a high bit of ground where there is no chance of anyone standing in front of you and try to have around a 45 degree angle looking up at the photographs (being too close or too far away may not give you the shot you were after). Of course it’s lovely to have some other elements included such as people and landscape to frame your work (when I took my daughter to her first firework display I was more preoccupied with taking photos of her reaction. Unfortunately for me she really didn’t look that bothered)
Check your environment
Keep an eye on which direction the wind is going. If it’s coming towards you you’re going to get a lot of smoke in your face. On this note try to take full advantage of the fireworks at the beginning. If the wind ends up changing, your photographs near the end may be a bit smoky.
Choosing the right equipment
There are a lot of changes you can make to the settings on your camera to give you the best shots. Therefore it’s good to have a camera with manual settings, you want to:
- Use a tripod.
- Use a cable release or wireless remote so you don’t accidentally change the frame.
- Turn on Long Exposure noise reduction.
- Shoot the highest quality file you can (might be worth taking some extra memory cards and batteries then).
- Set the camera to a low ISO, between 100-200 if possible.
- Set the aperture between f/8 to f/16.
- Set the camera to Bulb (b) to keep the shutter open for longer. Press and hold just as the firework is about to explode until it’s finished. Make sure not to leave it open too long to avoid overexposure.(a trick is to take a black bit of foam with you to put over the lens and remove at the opportune moment).
- Turn off the auto-focus and put it on infinity if possible.
- Switch off your flash.
Check your shots throughout
If possible check your work through out the display, not after it’s all finished. You might be worried about missing something big but the last thing you want is all that hard work being a waste because you’ve accidentally cut off the top of the fireworks. Try to take as many photos as possible.
If you want to use your phone instead of your camera
Firework displays are getting bigger and bigger and with this; local areas are putting restrictions on parking nearby and where you can stand. Last year we went to a display we’d never been to before and didn’t realise that you couldn’t park within a mile of the display until we had already started walking (we regretted not bringing the pushchair at that point).
If you’re taking the whole family and would rather carry as little as possible, then here’s some advice on using your phone:
- Record a video instead of taking photos.
- Use an app like slow shutter cam or long exposure camera 2
- Still use a tripod if you have one for your phone.
We hope that you have found these tips helpful. Please share with us any photo’s that you have captured but of course make sure that you have fun