1. For the best fireworks shots, a tripod is essential. You will need to have your shutter speed set very slow, and if you try to hand-hold your camera you will get very blurry shots. Even a small tabletop tripod that you can buy at Target or Best Buy will work great! If you don’t have a tripod handy, brace your camera on a railing, or against a column or tree. This helps keep the camera from moving and blurring the pictures.
2. If your camera has a manual mode, now is the time to use it! A good starting place is a shutter speed at 3-4 seconds, an aperture of f11 and ISO of 100. But play around and see what works best for your specific lighting and location. Remember, the longer the shutter speed, the longer the trails of light you’ll be able to capture on the fireworks bursts!
3. Don’t have manual on your camera? Simply switch to night mode to make the most of available light. Night mode adjusts the camera settings for low-light conditions, allowing for a slightly longer exposure.
4. If possible, try to shoot the fireworks so that they are downwind from your position. If you are downwind of the fireworks, you may lose visibility because of the smoke.
5. Use burst mode on your camera (or take a quick succession of shots) to capture the entire lifespan of a firework – from the moment it pops to the moment it sizzles. This increases the chances that you’ll get that one great shot…or makes for a fun series of photos to display.
6. Don’t forget the people! The most memorable shots you’ll take on the Fourth will be of your friends and family, so don’t concentrate on the show above and forget the adorable moments on the ground 😉
If you have a digital SLR and want to read more in-depth about photographing fireworks, here’s a great resource.
Have a safe and happy holiday everyone!