Post Processing Fireworks Photos

Happy 7th of July. There were a lot of blog posts showing you how to take fireworks photos, but what do you do after you get the photos on your computer? Here are some simple ideas for post processing fireworks photos.

Fireworks Photo Out Of Camera

Once you get home, the first thing you want to do is start scanning your photos looking for the keepers. Honestly, a lot of them are probably going to suck. It's not that you did anything wrong. Timing fireworks shows when you don't know what will happen next is pretty difficult. On top of that, fireworks give off a lot of smoke that tend to wash out your images. Maybe you didn't notice it with your eye during the show, but the camera really catches that smoke.  Here's an example of a shot straight out of camera.

Post Processing Fireworks Photos

As I mentioned, the sky is rather faded and there is smoke all over the place. The foreground is a bit dark, so it may help to open up the exposure there a bit. Fortunately. it's a pretty simple thing to fix these issues.

Quick Tips for Post Processing Fireworks Photos

I made my changes in Aperture, but you can easily do the same in Lightroom or other photo processing tools.

Post Processing Fireworks Photos

In the screenshot above, I haven't done very much yet.  I cropped the image and boosted the Vibrancy to bring out the colors of the fireworks.  It also pumped up the blue color in part of the clouds, but I rather like that part. The sky behind the fireworks just isn't helping us out, though.

Here's the simple trick. Notice the linear Curves line in the image above?  Now take a look at the slight change below and how it changes the sky.

Post Processing Fireworks Photos

Now the fireworks explosions really pop against a black sky. It's eliminated some of the smoke clouds, too.

We've lost detail in the tree in the foreground, but that isn't something that concerns me.  There is no light on the tree, so it' a silhouette. You know what happens when you put a silhouette on a black background? You get a black background, which is what we wanted in the first place.

The only other processing I performed was a selective Shadows change to open up the people and islands in the foreground, but not very much. Here's the finished image.


Post Processing Fireworks Photos

Quick Work of Post Processing Fireworks Photos

You don't need to spend much time at all post processing your fireworks photos. Basically, I just moved some sliders. Vibrancy for the fireworks, the bottom of the Curves for the sky, and Shadows for the lower foreground.  You could add some Definition or Clarity to see how you like the effect upon the fireworks, too.

That's all it takes. In, out and ready to share.

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