It’s not easy to take photos of fireworks, but with a bit of planning and some luck you will get great results. I’ve been practising for years, and have had my work featured in the Guardian and on CNN.
Here are my top firework photography tips for beginners.
Preparation is everything in this game.
The best camera is one which gives you as much control as possible. Your phone might do a good job, but you’ll be relying on luck. If you can use a camera which lets you adjust the exposure manually you will be in control.
You will almost certainly need to use as wide an angle as possible You can zoom in on parts of the display if you want – but it is harder to get the framing right.
If possible, visit the firing site in advance – and certainly get out there before the display itself. Find out where the fireworks will be, where the crowd is going to stand, and where you need to be in order to get the best pictures. Be upwind of the display if you can – the smoke will blow away from you. You probably need to be further away from the display than you think – but try it.
Ask the firework display operators how high the fireworks will go, how long the display will last, and if there are any special effects to catch.
Take some trial photos (in the dark if possible) to check the framing and exposure. Turn off the flash and the autofocus (if you can)
If you don’t think you can get all the fireworks in your picture how about another angle – people’s faces lit up by the fireworks, something happening in the crowd, an abstract of the smoke blowing across the sky.
Keep a steady head
You will definitely take better photos if you have a tripod as the slightest movement of the camera just makes a blur. Stay as still as you can during the photo (even holding your breath helps). Use a remote control to release the shutter if you can.
Keep a steady head, too. Keep an eye (and an ear) out for things happening around you.
Shoot, check, adjust, repeat
The biggest fireworks make a “thud” as they leave the ground giving you two or three seconds before they explode in the sky. Many of them will burst in the same place – so find one and wait for the next. Shoot, check, adjust, repeat
Work fast. Take loads of photos and remember – one good shot may be all that you are after.
If you would like any more information about any of Electrify Pyrotechnics firework displays, head over to the wedding fireworks, party fireworks or the fireworks homepage. Or why not give us a call on 01332 650770, or you can find additional contact information here.
Rob Watling is an amateur photographer who has worked on wide variety of firework displays for a number of firework display companies over the last 15 years. Rob currently combines his love of all things ‘fireworks’ with his photography whilst working as a pyrotechnician for Electrify Pyrotechnics Ltd