- Taking photos of fireworks may seem like a simple task, but it is something that requires a lot of preparation and technicalities that we should keep in mind.
- We will try to provide you with the best advice so that you can achieve a high-quality photograph in any kind of event.
We are always taking pictures of different moments that will be immortalized forever, especially when it comes to important dates like Christmas or New Year. In these events it is normal that we enjoy many fireworks, which invade the sky and fascinate the vision of its spectators. Can they be immortalized? How should we take photos of fireworks ? We will analyze it a little further down and no, it is not something simple..
How to get good photos of fireworks?
Although the flashes and explosions of fireworks can be very impressive, photo-wise it's kind of boring. In isolation, they can look like something passed through an image-editing program. But the best fireworks photos always have an extra something going on around them. From people, landscapes, a huge city; but we will always find an extra that improves the final image.
When fireworks are launched, they are staged for an incredible show. This means that they are released individually or in bursts, one after the other. The problem is that it is rare for the sky to light up completely. We know that while we are appreciating them they look great..
The problem is that in the photographs it is not the same, a single firework seems boring, monotonous, even anticlimactic. The vast majority of fireworks photographs are actually long-exposure images, which were taken by everyone who exploded over a period of 10, 20 or more seconds.
Technicalities to consider to take good photos of fireworks
When we are going to capture a photograph, we are going to have two options, one of these is bad and the other is better. The first and worst would be to take the camera and try to time it to capture all the fireworks as they explode. Something that, obviously, has its risks and the result, well, it would not be the best..
Instead the second is to mount the camera on a tripod and use a long exposure time so that the fireworks will go off at some point in the camera, this is what we talked about earlier.
So the first thing will be to arrive well before the exhibition begins. We will install the tripod and frame the area where we believe the fireworks will be. Obviously, it is possible that later we will have to adjust something or other. However, the ideal is to have what you can ready before the show starts.
The lens we use will depend on the distance we are from the screen. Using Zoom will give us flexibility to adapt to any scenario. Although, generally, we shouldn't be too far away to use a long telephoto lens. The most important thing is to use manual focus.
As for the aperture, it is less important than the shutter speed. We would have to stand too far from the screen for depth of field to end up being important. The aperture should be between f/8 and f/16, it will depend on the ambient light. In case we are over a city, f/16 will be better; if we are in a field or forest, f/8 would be ideal.
Last tips to take a good photograph
Considering the fireworks are too bright and since we're using a tripod, the ISO isn't something we should lose sleep over. We'll set it to 100 and that's it. The exposure will be adjusted with the shutter speed.
There is no shutter speed that captures fireworks. Whether we have the shutter for 10 seconds or 30 seconds open. What really matters is the half second during which the fireworks are shining their brightest.
Here what makes the difference is that, with the shutter at 30 seconds, we will be able to capture approximately six bursts of fireworks, instead of a couple. This will also give the fund more time to present.
So, we'll start with a shutter speed of about 10 seconds and do some testing. In case the photos appear overexposed, then we will adjust the aperture or reduce the exposure time to five seconds. If they are underexposed, it is possible to open the aperture or directly choose 20-second exposures. Obviously, the only way to find what will work here is to try, fail, and try again.
Finally, it is important to be prepared to adjust the shutter speed and aperture in the middle of the event. As the exhibition progresses, it is possible to find bigger explosions and calmer moments. It can happen that the shutter speed, which initially gave us an excellent exposure, ends up overexposing.