Just in time for 4th of July celebration, here’s how to get an amazing picture of a beautiful firework. Our guest author is Pierce Brunson of Pierce Brunson Photography and Firefly Event Photography and Entertainment from St. Petersburg, FL. He has great tips and an abundance of photography knowledge, so enjoy the post, practice, and leave your comments.
- SLR camera with manual mode (I use the Canon 50d)
- Tripod (I have a generic one from Walmart)
- Remote trigger (a generic one purchased from ebay for my camera model $12)
- Wide angle lens (canon 18-55)
From here is all about the setup and execution. I usually know the place I am taking pictures so I have an understanding of what I want in the image. Glowing buildings, barges, a skyline or evening sky with some cloud texture will greatly enhance your photo. If finding a good location to enhance the background is too much then just point the camera at the sky.
- Find a good spot for your camera and set it on the tripod. These images take a longer exposure so you can’t hole that long without getting major blur. Trust me, I tried.
- Make sure you have your tripod cranked high enough to capture the image and for you to view what you captured. I will crank mine as high as it will go.
- Get a nice wide view of the sky.
- Attach remote trigger and test before fireworks start.
- Camera setup? You don’t need a low light lens for these shots…remember fireworks are light and a big burst of it. I would make sure your aperture is set between f/11 and f/16 this will make sure that your image frame is fully in focus. Anything lower may cause the camera to start spot focusing. Spot focus is great for portraits, not for when you want the whole sky in focus.
- ISO=100 is suggested.
- Your image test should pick up some light in the night sky and the image shouldn’t be black. There is color in the night sky adjust the shutter speed to capture some color and you are almost ready for the show. If you want to play with shutter timing to get great light streaks then go for it.
- There is an issue here with auto focus. Turn it off and adjust manually by reviewing your shot after each trigger. Once you like the focus of your images then you are ready.
- Once ready to shoot click that trigger as much as possible. Then check and adjust setting quickly. You want to be ready for the grand finale.
- Tip: I like light trails so I don’t look through the viewfinder I watch the sky. Once I see a trail go up I get ready to hit that trigger. Use the light trails and not the sound of boom. Sound travels slower and can throw you off a bit.
- Tip: Shoot early and often because there may be a smoke factor.
Good luck. Shooting fireworks is a very active process.
Pierce Brunson, Owner
Pierce Brunson Photography, Inc.
Firefly Event Photography and Entertainment, LLC
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