Fireworks Photography – Tips And Tricks

Back-story: I’d gone with the family for a vacation in Goa during Christmas week, 2013. We were told that a fireworks display would take place to welcome the New Year. Unfortunately, I had no idea how to shoot fireworks. Fortunately, I’d carried my tripod along. And thanks to some intermittent Wi-Fi, I managed get a basic idea of what to do. Some frustration and some trial-and-error methods later, I pulled off some pretty decent shots.

Requirements:

1. dSLR camera (“Manual” mode required)

2. Sturdy tripod

3. Remote-trigger (Optional, but recommended)

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Set your camera up on the tripod. Attach the remote-trigger and take a test shot just to make sure your framing is spot-on. A 3-second exposure will do.

IMG_2630

 

EXIF Details:

Camera: Canon 500D

Lens: 18-55mm

Focal length: 35mm (Cropped post-production)

Shutter speed: 3 seconds

Aperture: f/11

ISO: 100

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Now attempt a longer exposure. Over-exposing isn’t much of a concern in a beach-scenario because you are most likely in near-pitch darkness.

IMG_2626

EXIF Details:

Camera: Canon 500D

Lens: 18-55mm

Focal length: 35mm (Cropped post-production)

Shutter speed: 30 seconds

Aperture: f/11

ISO: 100

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Try altering your – or rather your tripod’s – stance. Changing directions makes for some interesting shots. Using a wider focal length gives a different perspective. The following image was shot with a 6-second exposure to avoid over-exposing the lights in the foreground.

IMG_2620

EXIF Details:

Camera: Canon 500D

Lens: 18-55mm

Focal length: 18mm

Shutter speed: 6 seconds

Aperture: f/11

ISO: 100

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A longer exposure can lead to a cooler looking image, but over-exposure rears its ugly head. It can be minimised post-production, of course.

IMG_2621

EXIF Details:

Camera: Canon 500D

Lens: 18-55mm

Focal length: 18mm

Shutter speed: 15 seconds

Aperture: f/11

ISO: 100

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People generally tend to stand pretty still while gazing up at fireworks in the sky. So, don’t be afraid to keep them in your frame.

IMG_2617

EXIF Details:

Camera: Canon 500D

Lens: 18-55mm

Focal length: 18mm

Shutter speed: 30 seconds

Aperture: f/11

ISO: 100

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