4 tips for getting great photographs of fireworks on the Fourth of July

(Image credit: Somrut Dangthib - Dreamstime.com)

Who doesn’t love a good firework show? Fourth of July is right around the corner and social media will be brimming with photos of fireworks. The reality is, most of those photos will be blurry and won’t capture the full magic of the show. That is why the expert photographers at Dreamstime.com have compiled tips to help you capture the best firework photo possible. Get ready to blow your Instagram feed away! 

(Image credit: Chaturon Kaikaew | Dreamstime.com)

1. Research is key

Research is usually the first step to any amazing shot. Try looking for blog posts by other photographers who have shot the same, or similar, celebrations before. Find examples of photographs of the fireworks and try to work out where they were taken from so you can plan your best angle. Preparation can make all the difference between a good shoot and a great one.

(Image credit: Ninotti | Dreamstime.com)

2. Set the stage 

Get to your spot early to set up, then make use of extra time by capturing some shots of the scenery. This will allow you to try out different compositions and get your camera settings in order for your location. Set your zoom and focus but be ready for adjustments on the fly when the show begins.

(Image credit: Somrut Dangthib - Dreamstime.com)

3. Getting the shot

Use remote release to get the best possible image, shooting long exposure right when the fireworks are released. A longer exposure will allow you to capture the explosion and tails in one image. A typical exposure time is between five to ten seconds long. Remember, fireworks are sparks of light! 

Be sure to bring a solid tripod to ensure your images are not blurry and take more photos than you think you’ll need – it’s always better to have extras. When the show ends, don’t move your camera or adjust your zoom settings. Take some images just of the city, capturing a range of exposures as though you were planning an HDR shot, just in case you need them in post processing.

(Image credit: Nuttawut Uttamaharad | Dreamstime.com)

4. Take advantage of post processing

Post processing is where you can really make a difference. Images of city skylines, for example, are normally taken with a cooler light temperature whereas fireworks look best with a warmer setting. Use those final scenery shots to create a great image of the backdrop using that cooler setting. Try darkening the sky as well, as the sky normally would be black or dark blue when the firework show starts.  And remember, have fun! 

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