How to Take Photos of Fireworks

I have been trying for at least four years to take great photos of fireworks.

None of my attempts have been successful. The last time, in 2012 (because the fireworks were rained out last year) I had my tripod set up, my slow shutter speed and low ISO set, I was focused on the area where I thought most of the fireworks would burst.

And I got, well, some not-so-great photographs, despite my preparations.

See for yourself…

how to take photos of fireworks

how to take photos of fireworks

how to take photos of fireworks

how to take photos of fireworks

how to take photos of fireworks

What I realized is that my aperture was too open. It was wide open for the lens I was using and I wasn’t able to get any of the fireworks in focus because of it.

This year I’m prepping early and I’ve found three references for how to take photos of fireworks that I’m going to share with you, so you and I both can get better photos this year.

 

Option #1

Courtney from Click it Up a Notch has the simplest, clearest instructions for getting great photos of fireworks.

Her photos are bright, sharp, and exactly what I was hoping mine would be. I had high hopes people.

 

Option #2

Shellmultimedia.com not only explains how to take great photographs of fireworks but she also walks you through her editing process. She explains how you can change/enhance some of the colors and sharpen your images – even if you only have a basic understanding of editing and use the free version of Picmonkey you can do some of the same things she is talking about in her descriptions. I played around a little bit in Aperture and found it easy enough to follow along. (warning: these still aren’t great I think because they were blurry prior to processing?)

original photo

Original, unedited

edited fireworks photo

Edited

original fireworks photo

Original, unedited

 

edited fireworks photo #2

Edited

 

Option #3

Picturecorrect.com is offering a 50-page eBook with instructions for taking amazing fireworks photographs and tips for editing them. This eBook explains the process from start to finish, everything from gear and camera settings to composition and post-processing to achieve great results. (picturecorrect.com) The book isn’t free but it is 33% off until July 4th. So you can get the $15 book for only $10. (I am not an affiliate – I’m just considering buying the book.)

How to Take Photos of Fireworks

 

So, now I’m curious…have you tried taking photos of fireworks? Do they turn out? Do you process them afterwards? What program do you use?

This year it is my personal challenge to get some decent photos. I hope I end up with at least one I can share here.

11 Comments

  1. I need to take a better look at editing with PicMonkey for this. Seriously, just about anything can be done there and that is why I love and sing their praises constantly!! 🙂

  2. I went to fireworks over the weekend and only took my cellphone! Oops. I did fireworks photos last year and they worked. I was really having a lot of fun with the shutter speeds and f-stops. I was successful but not off the bat, for sure.

  3. Every once in a while I get a decent one, but it’s more luck than anything else. And honestly, it’s about the people and the memories for me…but it is nice as part of the story, so maybe I should look into these tutorials. Thanks Steph!

  4. I haven’t tried to get some good fireworks pics in a really long time but great tips on aperture! I never would have thought about that!! The second set looks so cool! I am so going to check out these tutorials!

  5. I thought this was going to be a trick post and you were going to say, “don’t. Watch them with your eyes.”

    But wow, seriously, those are perhaps the only decent photos (from a non-pro) that I’ve ever seen. Scrolling down is almost like watching a mini-display. Awesomesauce!

  6. Wow, your edited photos look amazing! I always try and fail and photographing fireworks. I’ll have to try some of your tips!

  7. So, how did they turn out? You need to update us because I’m dying to know if you got any good ones.

    We were on Cape Cod this 4th with Hurricane Arthur. We got rained out the first night and the next night the kids were passed out before they started.

    I think your edited versions look pretty good! It is amazing what a good crop and playing with the saturation and color will do!

  8. Kristi Campbell - findingninee

    I try EVERY YEAR to take great photos of fireworks because I love them and my son’s birthday is on the 4th of July and and your “bad” ones are better than my good ones. Thanks for the tips – I wish I saw this before we went to the beach for his birthday celebration fireworks extravaganza. It was magical though – he said thank you to the fireworks. awwww….

  9. Kristi Campbell - findingninee

    Scheduled this to pin to my 4th of July board

  10. So cool. I took photos on Independence Day that looked like neon spiders on a black surface. Just bright and fuzzy. Then Marie edited one on one of her apps and it looked pretty cool. I will leave this to professionals like you, Stephanie. Oh, and Marie.

  11. I took some with my iPhone, and they are good enough for me! Clearly I’m not a perfectionist when it comes to photography. Or visiting blogs – shame on me for not seeing this post that went up over a month ago! But good for you for not posting in a month – must mean you’re having a great summer!

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