Tips for How to Photograph Fireworks

by | Oct 1, 2021 | Event Photography

In case you’re looking for Learning how to photograph fireworks so that you can make Fourth of July (for that matter any other fireworks-worthy celebration) memorable. Here are a few tips that can help in the same.

When you look at images on the internet of fireworks displays that surpass anything you’ve ever seen on TV, it’s because they’ve been taken with high quality cameras. If you’re just starting out, then you really don’t have much to go on except training and practice.

You’ve seen images in magazines and on the internet with people throwing confetti and setting off fireworks. Yes, people can do that. But most of the time, they shoot at the sky, looking south at the fireworks falling across the horizon.

Where’s the interesting stuff?

Photographers want to capture as much detail on their images as possible, so if you’re just starting out with photography, you’ll need to practice and train. However, even the people who shoot live and television fireworks have an image of what it looks like to a viewer.

An amateur fireworks display is EVERY bit as exciting, takes up a lot of space and can be vivisected in much more detail than what you can get from simply photographing the pre-recorded footage. That’s because the technological advancements that have been made in photography are becoming more and more functional, and every year there is something new to photograph. You don’t have to get your hands on top-of-the-line equipment, you just need a basic camera and a little training.

Here are some tips to make your first fireworks image memorable:

1. Appreciate the details

No “photography” tutorial can tell you how to take photos at a concert without shooting the different channels. Let people know at the beginning when they’re about to take your photo. Encourage folks to capture the stage and most of the lights first, then switch cameras over and talk about some of the different light sources.

This gives you a chance to talk about using different lighting, angle and setting you could take some shots with, as well as letting them know you might have to go back to the same spot at the next show.

If someone has a great photo at the concert and would like to make it into a tutorial, make sure to include their contact information at the end. That way you can contact them and offer to feature their photo in the tutorial on our website as well.

2. Use multiple cameras

Assuming you have a nice camera, with wide angle lens and a steady hand, go into the beach area and get great shots of the fireworks falling across the water.

10 Creative Tips to Enhance Your Photography from SheKnows

1. Start with the middle of the tongue

Distorting your background creates a grid-like effect which makes your images look cluttered and even grayer. Start with your subject’s middle two or three teeth as your background. This is for two reasons. First, your audience is used to similar-looking backgrounds, so their expectation is that they should be seeing it as they would in a studio. Second, the color changes Mean Reversion matrix used by photographers wrap around to make the background as they would see it. Meaning, your subjects as a whole see a different color than the background. A Challenge to Instagrammers: Are you using lightboxes so that your subjects see a nearly neutral color throughout every frame and your zoom-in photographs have a nearly white/neutral contrast ratio?

2. Flip the lens to super-telephoto

This trick is overlooked almost everywhere online. There’s a zillion reasons for it, but its biggest benefit is that the actual lens you end up with doesn’t have to change. You’re basically using “universal” glass to zoom in and super-telephoto lens to zoom out!

Don’t get discouraged if your subject isn’t super-micro to zoom-in. Just flip the lens to super-telephoto for dramatic effects, something you’ll later fake with filters. Now, zoom in like you would normally and print at a respectable size for a photo album. It will take adjusting, but it’s one of those adjustments you’ll really notice once you start making photos day after day.

3. Give it some depth

When I talk to people about photography, I often reference the subjective quality of looking at three dimensional images as being akin to the quality of seeing things in 3D. Don’t worry if you aren’t surrounded by photos that are extremely three-dimensional because we cannot see things in one dimension. The trick is to create depth. Keep beginners in mind that you’ll gain more depth every time you shoot with higher megapixels and zoom in. Setting up your camera tripod can help hide areas that you may be looking at on a photo. But you can also go extreme and use PhotoShop to “morph” your photographs to make them a cinematic 3D look.

4. Add color

Adding color to images not only adds definition and vibrancy, it hones in on the contrast of different lighting and contrasts between light and dark areas in a dramatic way. In other words, you make eyeballs see things. Keep this in mind as you assemble your final images and think of every photo you compose as a piece of art.

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