Independence Day and fireworks go together like hot dogs and mustard, cake and ice cream, baseball and summer. You won’t want to miss any of them this summer. So how do you get a few photo memories worth keeping? Here are a few tips to photographing fireworks for more, and less sophisticated photographers.
Nikon makes the following suggestions:
- Use a tripod.
- Use a cable release or wireless remote to trigger the shutter if you have one.
- Turn on Long Exposure Noise Reduction.
- Shoot the highest quality file you can. NEF is ideal.
- Set the camera to a low ISO, such as 200.
- A good starting point for aperture is f/11.
- Instead of choosing a shutter speed, set the camera to Bulb (B) which allows you to keep the shutter open as long as you want. Expose for the entire fireworks burst. You can even keep the shutter open for multiple bursts.
- Turn off the autofocus, otherwise it might have difficulty locking onto focus. Manually focus your lens at infinity.
Here’s some more info from Nikon: http://www.nikonusa.com/en/learn-and-explore/a/tips-and-techniques/taking-pictures-of-fireworks.html
If, like me, you aren’t a professional photographer, camera buff, don’t understand the technical terms, or don’t have a quality camera, here are a few tips for those of us hoping to snap a few quick shots with our cell phones.
1. Plan ahead so you won’t be disappointed. Read these tips and take a few minutes to get ready in advance.
2. Turn the flash OFF! It will only light the area near you, fading the contrast of the fireworks over head.
3. Turn off the HDR (High Dynamic Range). This adds to the vibrancy of your photos except for fireworks which are both colorful and moving. On an Android phone just tap the letters “HDR” at the top of the camera screen to disable.
4. Keep the camera shutter open longer. On a cell phone this may be easier said than done. If you don’t have a setting for this, try one of these apps: A Better Camera for Android, and Manual on iOS.
5. Hold still! There’s a reason photographers use tripods, especially for night photos. Try a selfie stick for this. It’s also great for getting shots above the crowd.
6. Set up a shot that takes in part of an onlooker’s face, or the buildings or trees below the fireworks.
7. Use your camera’s photo editor to enhance your photos.
8. Take a video!
Where to see fireworks in southwest Florida?
Find a spot along the beach after sunset and look towards the Naples pier. Bring chairs and/or blankets. The best spots are from Lowdermilk Park to south of the Pier.