Start With These Camera Settings To Take Great Fireworks Photos

Start With These Camera Settings To Take Great Fireworks Photos

Fireworks are really fun to photograph, but they can be challenging. To get started on the right foot, DIY Photography offers a few basic settings to familiarise yourself with before the fireworks start.

Photo by GotoVan

As you’d expect, you’ll get the best fireworks photos by shooting on manual. Here’s DIY Photography’s take on what to set those manual settings at:

As noted, we’re going to be using a very slow shutter speed. 2.5-4 seconds is a pretty good starting point, although I prefer something longer like 6-8 seconds or more. Remember, if the shutter speed is too fast you won’t get any of those long light trails that make fireworks photos so dramatic. If the shutter speed is too slow, you’ll have blown-out highlights right in the middle of your frame. To make sure that all this works together, make sure you’re shooting with a low ISO (100) and narrow aperture (f/11 — f/16)…

Another option when it comes to selecting a shutter speed is to switch your camera in Bulb mode. In this mode, the shutter stays open as long as you keep the shutter button pressed. This allows you to open the shutter at the beginning of the blast and close it at the end. Try this once or twice when the fireworks start to see if it works for you. If not, simply go back to setting the shutter speed on your own.

Of course, these settings are just a starting point. You’ll need to tinker and adjust to get things right for your particular situation. Still, it’s handy to at least have a starting point if this is your first time shooting fireworks. Head over to DIY Photography for a bunch of other tips.

Our Best Tips for Photographing Fireworks [DIY Photography]


  • And try to shoot early in the display to get crisp bright explosions/trails against the dark night sky. Towards the end, all the accumulated smoke tends to reflect light and gives an undesirable haze effect.

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