How to Photograph Fireworks

Who’s ready for fireworks?  They are saying that our local fireworks are supposed to be bigger and better than ever this year.  Don’t they always say that?  I’m holding them to it.  Well, if I can stay up that late. I do have to work at 8am on the 4th.  Rough, right?  Maybe I’ll just have Nate photograph the fireworks for me. Hmmm…

How to Photograph Fireworks.  Great tips!

Here are some tips for capturing awesome fireworks memories:

  • Use a tripod as capturing fireworks requires a long exposure. 
  • Set the focus to manual.
  • Change the adjustment ring to infinity (the sideways 8). 
  • Switch the camera mode to manual (M on Nikon).  Select “Bulb”mode (for Nikon it will say TIME on the screen for the exposure time) and then set the aperture to something between f8 and f16 (I used f16 for all our shots last year).
    • Bulb mode lets you set the amount of time the shutter is open.  Use one press to open the shutter and then another press to close it.  This allows you to leave the shutter open as long as you need to capture the fireworks.
    • If you do not have a remote  then do not use Bulb mode.
    • Use a remote shutter release for best results.
      • Pressing the button on the camera will create shake in the camera and the picture will not be as sharp. 
      • If you do not have a remote shutter release, set the shutter speed to at least 2 seconds (most of my shots were somewhere around 10 seconds) and use the self timer at 2 seconds to avoid shake.
      • These photos were shot in RAW and I did some minimum processing in Photoshop Elements Camera Raw (changed white balance, made the color pop a little bit through the camera profile settings) but shooting in JPEG would work as well.

Check out more fireworks photos here and here!

Check out more photography tips on our photography page!


Are you pumped for fireworks?  Anyone else going to have trouble staying up that late?  Any other poor saps have to work on the 4th?