PF 056: How to Photograph Fireworks with Ease
Learn How to Photograph Fireworks the Easy Way
You don't have to spend a lot of money on camera gear. In fact, you can get great fireworks photos using inexpensive equipment as long as you have a few key elements.
- A camera with manual controls for Aperture, ISO and Shutter Speed
- A tripod
- A cable release
You're going to photograph fireworks with a very small aperture, like f/16. That lets you have a longer exposure without overloading your sensor, so you can capture the bursts and explosions as they spread across the sky.
In this episode, we cover a number of factors to help you understand how to photograph fireworks. We'l discuss your gear, how to scout your location, give you advice for different styles of capturing your fireworks photos and finally how to use post processing to enhance your results.
Sample Photos of Fireworks to Illustrate Ideas Discussed on The Show
We're lucky that we can photograph fireworks any night of the year, so these examples will come from Walt Disney World. You can use the same tips in your fireworks photography anywhere.
We mentioned that fireworks in the sky without a point of reference are bland and full. Your fireworks photos should show something of the environment where you're photographing your shots. These examples use Main Street and Cinderella Castle to show the environment.
You don't always have to be close to the scene for your fireworks. Consider shooting from a distance to get a cityscape or a wider point of view of the fireworks.
We mostly recommended using a wide angle lens. That may cause some distortion, but you can also use that to your advantage. Get funky with a fisheye!
Since fireworks are combustible explosions, expect smoke. Some of your clearest shots will be at the beginning of the show. In some cases, you may be able to use the smoke in combination with lighting.
Remember that the Grand Finale is often overwhelming for your camera sensor. Sit back and enjoy the show with your own eyes, because your camera will see something like this example.
When you get home, use your post processing to draw out the colors and contrast in your fireworks photos.
You need solid support to hold your camera. Don't expect to use a table-top tripod or even something like a GorillaPod with flexible legs. They may not keep your camera stable for a long exposure. Here are some tripods from Amazon.com that we can recommend.3 Legged Thing EVO3 Punks Rick Carbon Fiber Tripod and Mohawk Ball Head Oben AC-1341 3-Section Aluminum Tripod with BA-111 Ball Head
Post Processing Software
Here are some recommended post processing software tools to help enhance your photos. These programs can help you organize and enhance your photos. You can increase contrast, sharpen images, bring detail out of shadows, increase saturation and vibrance in the fireworks streams and reduce noise in your photos.
These are all tools that I use and recommend. Some links are affiliate links, which doesn't add any cost to you. In fact, I have coupon codes for some to provide you with a discount.
Macphun Luminar – Check out with Coupon Code BEEM to save 10% (Mac computers only)
Macphun Noiseless CK – Check out with Coupon Code BEEM to save 10% (Mac computers only)
Topaz DeNoise – Check out with Coupon Code WBEEM to save 15%
ON1 Photo RAW – Check out with Coupon Code WBEEM16 to save 20%