Capturing Sparkling Firework Photography
Preparing for Lift-Off
An equally steady surface will also do the job, anything that will make sure the camera doesn’t shake during the long exposures that you will need to use (due to the low-lighting conditions).
Another accessory you might find useful is a remote shutter release.
This means you won’t have to manually press the shutter button and run the risk of unintentionally knocking the camera as it starts its exposure.
This can often be used to trigger the camera shutter remotely so that you will be able to see what your lens is seeing too.
It’s like a remote LiveView function!
But be aware you’ll need a Wi-Fi connection to use this setting, which is not always easy to find when you are in the middle of a field.
Another handy tool to have on you is a small torch or a mobile phone with a flashlight.
This will enable you to easily and quickly adjust your settings through the buttons and camera dial (if they don’t have the option to light up).
Want a Sparkling Performance?
The choice of lens you use depends upon the affects you hope to achieve, as well as your distance from the fireworks themselves. There is no need for a particularly wide aperture lens (as normally suggested when shooting in low-light), as anywhere in the range of F/8 to F/16 will provide a great depth of field.
Furthermore, a low ISO of 100 will produce far less visual noise, for a more pleasing image, which is especially helpful if you intend to print your photograph afterwards.
Make sure your camera is set on bulb mode (marked with a ‘B’), or the longest exposure possible, if your camera is not equipped with bulb mode.
It will allow you to start and stop the exposure manually, so you can time it along with the fireworks.
Bulb mode will offer you the freedom to try a variety of shutter speeds – it’s likely a fair bit of experimentation will be needed.
However, as a starting point, if shooting at F/8, then attempt a shutter of around 20 seconds, review this image and adjust from there as necessary.
If you find your exposure is too dark then make your shutter speed slower, and if it’s too bright, then make your speed faster.
This allows the camera to capture multiple fireworks in one shot, without worrying that your image is overexposed.
After a few pop, whizzes and bangs, the sky starts to become hazy with the smoke of the rockets.
Therefore, the faster you can test your settings, the better chance you will have of capturing clean shots and images.
You could try to incorporate trees, small crowds of people, or parts of buildings to provide striking silhouettes against the backdrop of the fireworks.
Make sure your battery is fully charged and memory card empty before heading out. Your evening spent photographing fireworks may become a case of trial and error.
But remember, you’re free to take as many pictures as your card and battery can handle.
Cold weather can reduce a batteries operational life dramatically, so store any spares in a warm pocket or deep inside your camera bag until you need it.
Of course, remember to stay safe out there, fireworks and bonfires can be dangerous. So follow the safety guidelines set out by the event’s organisers, and keep a safe distance (especially if children or animals are present). Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
And finally, remember to wrap up warm. A pair of fingerless gloves will prove to be a great friend for the evening.
We would absolutely love to see your attempts in our gallery, so please feel free to upload these to share with the iPhotography tutors and your fellow students.
Have a great bonfire night wherever you’re watching them around the world!
From the iPhotography Course
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iPhotography Course not only teaches you all the standard technical expertise, settings, skills, and special effects with your camera – but we also show you how to use these skills to develop your own individual style as a photographer.
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