Shooting Fantastic Fireworks

November 04, 2012  •  Leave a Comment



Henley Festival 2012


Getting good shots of fireworks isn't as hard as you think. So here's a few tips on how to get the most out of this loud, and colourful time of year.

All the photos on this newsletter (apart from the top and bottom one) were taken with a very small and cheap compact camera.


Bring a tripod

The best way to capture fireworks is by using a tripod but if you're at a public display it's probably not that practical. If you can’t bring a tripod, try to brace your camera against railings, walls, or cars to keep steady.


Find a good location

Sounds obvious - but don't forget to get a spot where you can see in front of you as well as above you - it's good to be able to track the rocket so you can be ready for the explosion. 
* You don't want trees or other things in the way either. 
* You could look for somewhere unique - like near water so you get the reflections. 
* Make sure you're not standing in the direction of the wind or you may get smoked out!


Turn the flash off

Your flash isn't gong to help - however big it is so make sure it's turned off. Why would you want to light up the sky anyway?


Use the self-timer

If you have brought a tripod with then use the self timer - set it to 2 seconds and press the shutter button. This will avoid any shake on the camera. Some cameras also have a remote control so you could use that instead.


Spare batteries & memory cards

You'll be snapping away - so bring spare memory cards and make sure your camera battery is charged - and if you have a spare then bring it too.


Use 'Fireworks' mode

Most compact cameras have 'scene' selections for a variety of situations - there's no shame in using them and they will be chose the best settings for your camera to get the best shots. Fireworks mode is almost certainly on there - and you will get really good results using this. You can experiment - take a few shots and see. You may be surprised.


Focus on infity

If you have manual settings - turn off auto focus and put the lens on infinity. Almost certainly the fireworks will be exploding way further than your lens's maximum focus point so leave it on infinity and manual focus or it may 'hunt' for a focus while you're trying to get the shot. The infnity sign looks like this ∞.


Use a slow shutter

If you can get the camera into manual then use a slower shutter speed of around 2 to 3 seconds. Of course the longer you leave the shutter open the more 'trails' of light you will get. Dont get too many fireworks in one exposure though or it will look messy. Less can be more effective.


Take LOTS of photos

Shoot away - you can always delete the rubbish ones at home later - don't mess about deleting on the night or you may miss a shot. Shoot as many as you like and of course have lots of fun.

IMG_9617 - 2009-07-08 at 22-10-47

kew gardens

A final word

I'm actually 5 days into my fundraising for Movember - a very worthwhile cause and the reason why lots of men raise awareness by growing ridiculous moustaches for the month. If you would like to donate any amount - however small an amount- then please CLICK HERE.

Thanks for reading - I hope you've found something useful here. Have a fun and safe Bonfire night.

Tips & Tricks is a free newsletter from Satureyes Photography. For more information about Satureyes please visit


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Until next time, happy snapping!

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