Photography Cheat Sheet: How to Photograph Fireworks Like a Pro

Want to get better at photographing stunning fireworks displays? We have just the comprehensive photography cheat sheet for you. 

We all like taking photos of beautiful fireworks, but let’s admit it: smartphone cameras just don’t cut it, and it’s really challenging to do for a beginner. No one wants to keep fiddling with camera controls and miss the shots altogether. It’s also easy to get blurry or overexposed snaps if you’re not careful. With today’s featured photography cheat sheet, you’ll surely have a blast getting those colorful and explosive shots!

Content marketing provider Epic Presence put together a bunch of useful tips to help us get great fireworks photos, whatever the occasion. Make sure you keep a copy of the below photography cheat sheet in your phone so you have a handy guide always on the ready!

The guide mentions two important things that increase your chances of getting sharp and clear shots: a tripod and a remote release. Since you’re photographing at night and with a small aperture to accurately expose the fireworks, you’ll need the two items to keep your camera stable and avoid shake during the shot. As for the camera settings, they recommend shooting in manual mode, with the shutter speed at Bulb, the aperture at f8 or f16, and the ISO at 100 or 200. Use manual focus and set it to infinity, unless there are some background elements that you want to keep in focus. Make sure that the flash, noise reduction, and image stabilization or vibration reduction are turned off.

Next comes the tricky part: getting the shot. Open the shutter as soon as you see or hear the fireworks set off into the sky. Keep it open until the burst fades. There’s also a nifty trick included for capturing multiple explosions in one frame. While keeping the lens open, use a cardboard painted matte black to block the lens in between the bursts. Lastly, there are also some useful tips for composing your shots and what to avoid getting into your frame. For example, make sure that you pick a good vantage point, away from street lights and other light sources or obstructions that can ruin the shots. A secluded spot away from the crowds is ideal — you don’t want to get some people’s heads in the frame or have your tripod knocked over!

Want more fireworks photography tips? We have a bunch of useful tutorials for you here. Make sure to check out the rest of our photography cheat sheets so far for more nifty tips and tricks like these!