Photo of fourth of july fireworksA quick Google search will turn up everything you need to know about how to photograph fireworks.  So rather than reinvent the wheel I have a few quick tips here and then a directory of some of the better fireworks photography sites I have found.

Quick Tips for Photographing Fireworks

1) Tripod – It goes without saying (although I am saying it), you MUST use a tripod for decent fireworks photographs.  With the longer shutter speeds required for night photography the steadiness a tripod provides is essential.

2) Aperture – You might think that since it is dark out you want to open you aperture up to f/5.6 or bigger.  Makes sense, but actually I have found that keeping your aperture around f/8 is ideal.  You need to balance the night and the great amount of light that the fireworks give off.  Use your aperture priority setting as well so you can determine the f/stop and the camera can set the shutter speed accordingly.

3) ISO – My Sony Alpha 850 can go up to an ISO of 6400.  For extreme low light situations that might be perfect.  But remember that even in the best cameras the higher the ISO the more noise you are going to get.  Since you are already using a tripod you can set your ISO lower and take advantage of the steadiness of the tripod to use longer shutter speeds rather than higher ISO.  If possible keep your ISO at around 100-200.

4) Focus – It is not easy to focus on the distant horizon and leave it focused while you wait for the fireworks to explode while on auto focus.  One good trick is to let the camera focus while on auto and then while holding that focus switch it to manual so that you basically lock in the focus.

For more great fireworks photography tips here are some additional resources.

Tips for Photographing Fireworks

How to Photograph Fireworks Displays from Digital Photography School

Photograph Fireworks – Wired How-To Wiki

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