Happy Fourth of July!

It’s here, the day when we celebrate our country’s independence.  Many of us will be watching beautiful firework displays, and we’ll want to capture them with our cameras.  It can be frustrating, though, trying to figure out what setting(s) to use.  It’s not hard at all; being equipped with some basic knowledge will prove to you how easy (and fun) it is.

Tips to Make Your Firework Photography Explode (using a dSLR)

  • Turn off the flash.
  • Use a tripod.
  • Shoot in Manual (M) mode or Bulb* mode, if your camera has it.
  • Set the focus to infinity.
  • Use a remote release** if you can.
  • Set your ISO to the lowest possible setting and keep it there.
  • Use low apertures between f/8 and f/16.  This will help to not over-expose your shot.
  • Shutter speed is the key.  You want a longer exposure, but must be careful not too leave the shutter open too long as it can over-expose easily, even in the dark.
  • Switch off the auto-focus and go fully manual.
  • Experiment with varying focal lengths resulting in tightly cropped shots or wide angle shots.
  • Don’t forget to look for other types of shots, like silhouettes of observers, reactions to the big bursts in the sky.  This allows for different and interesting perspectives.

*Bulb mode allows you to keep the shutter open for as long as you hold down the shutter.
**This is the best since you won’t be moving the camera at all.  Remote releases are relatively inexpensive, too.

My Fave of the Whole Show

Point-and-Shoot Tips:

If your point-and-shoot has a fireworks setting, use that.  It will turn off the flash, and adjust all your camera’s settings for long-exposure night photography. No fireworks mode?  Set your dial to Manual and shoot with a long exposure, as with a dSLR.

I hope these tips will help you to achieve those awesome Fourth of July shots that you want!  If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments sections.


Learn more tips and tricks in the following 10 unique photo editing effects tutorials.

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6 Responses to “Happy Fourth of July!”
  1. Your photos amaze me!


  2. 07.04.2011

    Thank you!! Got a few shots last night, but I think I left my aperture open too long. Going to find the bulb mode on my camera too!

    Thank you for the tips!!!

  3. 07.04.2011

    These are great tips, I’ll be bookmarking this list.

  4. 07.06.2011

    Your tip list was so helpful! I tried my best on Sunday night during the Duluth Fireworks show. I posted my photos on my blog with props to you sweets!

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