FireworkHave you ever tried to photograph a firework show and have your fireworks come out more like squiggly lines that although interesting, are far from what they should be? Each year as the 4th of July fireworks come near, people start wishing that they were able to capture those beautiful bursts of light effectively. However, there are a variety of other times, all over the world that fireworks are launched and some people may try to capture them on their camera, but most people have given up their dream of it. Those who still try, want to know more about how to photograph fireworks and here are a few basics to help you finally achieve your goal.

Take Your Tripod

tripod-300x300This is one simple thing that will increase your chances of capturing the true beauty of a firework explosion more than anything else you can do, with the second being a remote control for your camera. When capturing a firework, your shutter speeds will be slower because of the low lighting and the speed required to get the picture of it. Any extra movement from your hand shaking or the force of you pushing the “take photo” button will only increase the trouble that your camera will have with it. If you have taken pictures of fireworks in the past, you may notice they are wobbly or perhaps have a large sideways jump in what should have been a straight line, chances are good it was not your camera’s fault, but your own hands that did it.

Take a Wider Photo

If you are taking a photo of fireworks, it is really hard to tell where it will pop. Therefore, instead of zooming in and find the one that happens to be in your camera view, you will stand a better chance of staying zoomed further out. Even in the daytime hours, if you are trying to capture a moving target with your zoom far out, the image may blur. A firework show is going to make it even more likely.


If you do want to zoom in a little bit, do it before the show starts and leave it there throughout taking your photos. Otherwise, you will end up spending the entire show trying to focus your camera in the right area.

Manual Mode Works Best

With a digital camera, some people choose to use auto mode, even with fireworks. This is a potential mistake. Therefore, manual modes are best. You will want to adjust the aperture so that is in the smaller ranges, typically between f/8 and f/16. To clean this up further, you should set your ISO down to about 100.

The shutter speed should also be slow. Some cameras do allow you to change the speed setting on your shutter and ideally, you will be able to hold down your button when the firework first pops and let it go when you have a full ball of light. The downside to this is that there is a potential for overexposure. You should also forget the flash. A flash will speed up the shutter speed by tricking your camera into thinking that it has to. The bright flash will also not impact the bright flashes in the sky, except to show you how much smoke is on the ground that you are not seeing with your bare eyes. It is better to skip all of this and force your camera to see the bright flashes in the sky.

Other Tips You May Need

Avoid the smoky areas by checking where the wind will blow smoke. If you are in a smokier area, your pictures may all be hazy. You should also never worry about taking too many pictures at a show. The more pictures you take of fireworks, the more chances you will have of getting great pictures.

It is not hard to capture a beautiful photograph of fireworks in the digital camera era. However, it does take practice, and most of us only have one show per year to get it right on. This can make things very tricky, but if you want that one beautiful photo, you should read all that you can about how to photograph fireworks and then never give up on it.