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Thursday, November 15, 2012

How to capture Fireworks


The firework rocket just passed suddenly from my left side.I was scared enough to ruin this shot :) !

Hello Friends,

                     Today I want to share my firework photography that I captured last night.Everyone asked me to share the "HOW" thing about firework photography so I think I should share.

Capturing Fireworks is not much hard but very interesting and amazes you if you get it right,but still I am not satisfied with my upper photograph results.So,there are several things you should keep in mind that I mention below.

1.Good location
2.Dslr Camera with kit lens/wide angle lens

3.A tripod or anything that can hold still your camera may be some wooden stuffs.
4.Manual focus setting
5.Aperture number

6.ISO speed

7.Long Exposure or shutter speed.

(8.Lightroom or Photoshop CS versions, if you really want to play with composition)

Choose a location where you can see whole firework action going on, may be you should consider wide area of coverage.In Nepalgunj(Nepal) there's nothing exciting about fireworks that you may think after seeing fireworks photos over internet.We donot have extravagant firework event organizing in group.All we have/are private firework enthusiasts.So we are just in our own for the opportunity to get that shot.I would love the time when people come in together to have open firework event....OK..I chose my house roof where I stare stars and fireworks.


I don't know if I can shoot fireworks with a digital camera,never tried that way.So I say you need a good DSLR camera, need not to be expensive one, just you need is the manual control over it setting.I have a Canon T2i(550D) ,lovely DSLR,my seventh sense :) !Kit lens(18-55mm IS) is the best and common lens that you can get,I call it standard wide and zoom lens.It works on various genre-portraits,landscape,macros,sports-action,etc.If you have wide angle lens or prime lens its even better.


Since fireworks main attraction is the light trails which needs the camera to hold still for some moment while capturing the action.It records the light flow.So even a tiniest or micro movement in the camera will ruin all your work.So you must have a tripod or any stuffs to hold your camera still.Fit the camera in tripod and turn lens towards the fireworks event going on.Do not zoom in.You can play with the scope after in post editing,that I discuss later on.

4.Manual Focus

I will never let other setting to take over when taking event or action photographs.So I prefer Manual mode over any setting-not Tv move or Av mode and big NO to Auto mode.And do not mistake to set the lens in Auto focus mode this will confuse the lens as to where focus.Its a machine, it shoots where/what photographers want it to.And always set thelens to wide angle in order to capture widest possible scope.

Aperture is the size of the diaphragm,bigger the diaphragm greater depth of field or BOKEH effect( Some friend call it defocus-ing the foreground or background and making crisp clear the subject) Smaller the diaphragm, the wider coverage of focus,including all things in focus.
                        This is denoted by f(number) like f1.8 or f11. If you have INFINITE focus button in your lens its too good,if not, set the Aperture to F5 or more higher depending on the results.If the fireworks is near,say some feet away, then bigger Aperture number (small aperture size to prevent excess lights to enter in image sensor) is applied as it is brighter in near and you need to set small Aperture number ( big aperture size to let more light gather in image sensor) when the fireworks are far away.
                      The upper photographs were set to f5 , f4 and f25. I will not say to you the exact aperture number otherwise you will blame me (LOL ! ) ,check yourself until you get your best shot.

6.ISO speed

Its a rule when you increase f number you will be made to increase ISO speed too.Because smaller aperture(bigger f number) lets small amount of light on the sensor so you need to increase the light sensitivity that is ISO speed.I used here ISO speed of ISO400 and ISO200.You might need to increase it.But if possible,try to get it withing lower ISO speed because greater ISO speed increases the noise along; 
                    Do you remember the green,red,blue grains in the photos taken in night with digital camera?Yes,thats the thing from ISO speed (and may also happen if megapixel is lower and if you crop more)

Set the ISO speed somewhere in between 200-800 in your DSLR.

7.Shutter speed

As I said above,the main thing of attraction is the light trails in the fireworks.For this, you need to expose the image sensor for some seconds moment to capture all lights travel/trails.Slow shutter speed or long exposure can be set according to your plan and the nature of fireworks going on.This is known by the numbers like  1/4000(the fastest shutter speed normally), 1/200, 1/500 or 1" , 5" , 30"(the longest shutter speed normally).

              If the fireworks is going on continuously,you can set the shutter speed upto 25 or 30 seconds with adjustment with ISO speed and Aperture. For eg. 30 seconds shutter speed causes over exposure which can be adjusted by ISO speed , Aperture and also ± EV ( Exposure Value).

Share if you like,Like if you like.Happy Clickings !