How to Get that Perfect Shot of Fireworks

How to Get that Perfect Shot of Fireworks

Say goodbye to blurry and dull firework photos with these simple photography tips!
How To: Photograph Fireworks

Kari Sikorski, a professional family photographer based in Salt Lake City, shares her expert secrets on taking pics of fireworks.

Kari's Tips:
  • 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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