Kari Sikorski, a professional family photographer based in Salt Lake City, shares her expert secrets on taking pics of fireworks.
- The key to photographing fireworks is a long exposure and keeping the camera steady.
- Use a DSLR for the best results.
- Use a Tripod
- Consider using a Remote Release
- Frame your shot:
- Scope out the location early – find a good, unobstructed position
- Find out the direction of the wind
- Watch your horizons- Vertical or Horizontal?
- Remember your framing
- Focal Length- I recommend using a zoom lens. Wide angle or zoomed in… experiment for variety.
- Switch off your Flash
- Focus Manually - Set the lens to manual focus and set it to the ∞ (infinity) mark
- ISO & Aperture- Set your ISO to 100- Set your aperture to f/8.
- Shutter Speed- Set the shutter speed to Bulb (B) setting. Hit the shutter as the firework is trailing up into the sky, and hold it down until it’s finished exploding (about 1-2 seconds).
- Experiment and Check Results, Adjust as needed
- Post-processing - darken the sky for increased contrast
Writing with Sparklers
- Use a tripod and the same settings as with fireworks.
- Practice before lighting the sparkler.
- Instruct your subject to stay as still as possible, only moving their arm to write with the sparkler.
- Have an assistant light the sparkler and step out of the frame.
- Instruct your subject to start moving the sparkler when you say GO and press the shutter – release it when they are finished writing.
- When they are finished writing instruct your subject to stop moving the sparkler so that there isn’t a light trail coming off the word/shape.
- Experiment and adjust settings as needed for more or less light, and shorter or longer trails from the sparkler.
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