Happy “take great firework pictures” day!

So you want to take some awesome firework pictures?  Me too!!!

There are a few important things to remember when taking epic firework shots.

1. Stabilize that camera.   You certainly don’t need to have a tripod, a bench, table, or chair will do.  You cannot capture this type of image with just your hands.  Too much camera shake.  So plant that camera somewhere steady and point it up at the action.

2. Shutter speed.  Your shutter needs to be open for about a full second to capture anything awesome.  So you will get the beginning of the burst, and then the trails. So you can put it on Shutter speed priority (S for Nikon, TV for Canon) and let your camera adjust your aperture.  Or you can live dangerously and put it on manual and adjust all the settings yourself!  Either way, your shutter speed should be set somewhere near “1”.  These pictures were taken with a shutter speed of 1.4 and aperture of 4.5.  Your ISO should be low, around 200-ish so that you get the best color saturation.  Remember that the higher your ISO setting, the more muted and yucky your colors will be.

3. Don’t forget composition!  The best fireworks pics will tell a story.  So you can shoot simple shots like these, or you can include the horizon and sillhouettes of the people in front of you to get the whole picture.  (Which I will be doing tonight now that I am not holding two babies while shooting fireworks!)

But what about my friends and family?  Oh, they can join in the fun too.  If you would like to make fireworks a beautiful background to one of those “humans included” pictures….switch it up a little bit.

These were taken on New Year’s Eve in Boston at an EPIC wedding.

This requires flash, and an external flash is always your best bet.  The flash will light up your subject’s face, but is not powerful enough to do anything to the sky.  So set your external flash on ETTL and shoot away to include people in front of the fireworks.  For these shots, my camera was set on Shutter Speed of 1/60, aperture was 2.0, and my ISO was 800.  This is certainly not the only way to shoot this.  Play around with your settings and try different things.

You can always go without flash, and expose for the fireworks, making anyone in front of them a sillouette.

This picture was taken right as a firework fizzled out and the sky was still lit up slightly.  Such a fun shot!

Whatever you do, have fun tonight, and don’t be afraid to try anything!  If you forget everything I just said, put your camera on aperture priority 1 second and your ISO all the way down and see what happens!  There is never one right answer with photographer, try, try, try!  And for those of you that have taken my class….I will be expecting to see your hard work tomorrow 🙂

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