Fireworks are beautiful things, lighting up the night sky with an array of stunning colors. Everyone has the potential to capture beautiful images of fireworks as they explode with a DSLR camera, but it is something that requires quite a large amount of practice.
It is also something that requires quite a bit of advance preparation. Fireworks are usually used to celebrate special events, so they are predominant all over the world.
What equipment do you need?
The first thing that you have to consider and remember when it comes to any form of photography is the camera that you use.
Certain situations require certain cameras. Fireworks are a little bit different, as the reality is that any DSLR camera will be capable of taking photographs of fireworks, the most important thing is your own skill and the gear that you have with you.
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While you can get away with any form of DSLR camera, you do need to ensure that you remember to take a remote release with you. Long exposures are required when capturing fireworks, so your camera will pick up on any additional motion.
This means that the best remote release would be a wireless one, to completely get rid of the risk of any additional shaking that would distort your photograph.
Another option that you could consider if you do not have a remote release would be using a self-timer, but this could result in missing your shot entirely.
The lens that you use is down to personal preference. Wide-angle lenses are perfect for capturing fireworks as they light up the sky, but telephoto lenses can be utilized if the fireworks that you are shooting are quite far away.
You also have to make sure that you take a tripod with you, as there is no way to capture a perfect firework photo without one. The tripod offers you the necessary stability that you need to ensure that your camera does not move while it captures the fireworks, something that would blur a shot with a long exposure.
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Is practice important?
Before you even start to consider the settings that you should use, you need to ensure that you have spent some time practicing your aim.
Capturing fireworks can be difficult, as you never can tell exactly where the fireworks will land in the night sky. This means that you have to get used to aiming the camera before the fireworks actually go off.
To make sure that this is as easy as it can be, you should try to get up to a high spot where you know that you will have an unobstructed view of the fireworks being set off. If you are standing in a park, then you are going to end up with numerous heads that bob in and out of your photographs.
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You could also try to work out exactly where the fireworks are being set up for the event, as this can enable you to work out exactly where in the night sky the fireworks are going to explode.
You should also consider the lenses that you are going to use during the firework display, and try to stick to just one or two.
Wasting time and panicking while trying to change your lenses quickly in the middle of a firework display can be incredibly stressful. You should also consider what your lenses are capable of capturing, especially when it comes to the foreground and background of the shot.
What settings should you use?
There are a lot of different settings on a DSLR camera, so knowing exactly which ones are best for capturing fireworks can be relatively difficult. Here is some key advice for you to follow:
- ISO: You should always try to shoot at a low ISO, regardless of the conditions in which you are shooting. This ensures that you will be left with clean photographs that contain a minimal amount of noise. You should also make sure that you don’t shoot with a flash, as fireworks are really bright.
- Shutter Speed: The speed at which your shutter is set is one of the most important things to take into consideration, as it can really make or break a photograph. Fireworks are moving objects, so you might initially think that you need a really quick shutter speed. In reality, the opposite is true. Capturing the sort of movement that occurs when a firework explodes requires a relatively long exposure, and that is one of the reasons why it is so important that your camera is completely still for the duration of the shot.
- Focal length: This is one of the hardest things to determine, as it all comes down to how hard it is to track where a firework will land in the night sky. Shooting with a longer focal length can be quite practical, but the focal length that you shoot at really does come down to your aim and how easy it is to spot where the fireworks will land.
- Aperture: Fireworks emit a source of natural light, so small range apertures tend to work really well.
The rest all comes down to a little bit of trial and error, because everyone captures photographs differently.
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One thing that you do have to do involves ensuring that you are shooting in manual mode. If you are used to shooting in automatic, it would be advisable to get some practice in before the fireworks display.
Auto-focus can be disastrous at firework displays, and it can cause you to miss an array of shots that would otherwise have been perfect.
If you do change your focal length during the display, then you will need to make sure that you re-focus your camera. Luckily, you usually won’t have to spend too much time re-focusing your camera once it has focused.
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Remember that the most important part of photography is experimentation. You have to learn how to do things and practice them again and again, that way you can find a way that suits you. Opposed to molding yourself to suit a specific method.
Photographs of fireworks are known to be beautiful, but you should also spend a lot of time thinking about what you would like to have in the foreground and the background of your shot, as those are what really complete a photograph.