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Firework displays on the 4th of July are an American tradition. So are bad fireworks photos! Have you ever tried to capture a colorful explosion in the sky on film? Itís harder than it looks.
I saw on an infographic that said over 2,000 tweets were sent out last 4th of July demanding that people stop posting their bad fireworks photos! Apparently people had enough of grainy, blurry, photos of the fireworks with the backs of heads of the crowd in front illuminated by the flash.
I majored in photography, although it was back in the "dark room dark ages." A good portion of my final portfolio was night photography. Even though the basics haven't changed, I thought Iíd reach out to an expert for tips, to help us create fireworks photos that will make our friends on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram ďooh and ahh.Ē
Blogger and photographer Tom Bricker from DisneyTouristBlog.com came to my rescue. †(Heís known for his stunning fireworks photographs at Disney.) †I asked him to share some tips with us; turns out, heís literally co-written a book on the topic! (And he's giving FatWallet members an exclusive coupon to get it for 50% off!)†How cool is that?
Equipment:DSLR or Point and Shoot Camera: Yea, I guess that oneís a given.
Tripod: Youíve got to be a Steady Betty when it comes to getting good results with low-light photography. Donít let your photos look like you were shaking your groove thing while trying to capture them. Park that camera on a tripod!
Remote shutter release and/or timer on your camera: Another tool to help you avoid camera movement, by allowing you to take the photo without having to touch the camera.
Shooting Fireworks with a DSLR Camera:The secret sauce to photography is light.†How much light gets through to the cameraís sensor (or film). There are three things you can set on your DSLR when your camera is in manual mode to help you control that light: †f/stop (also called aperture), shutter speed, and ISO.
Capturing Fireworks with a Point & Shoot Camera:You donít have to have a bulky, heavy, DSLR camera to get great fireworks shots! †A point and shoot camera can work just fine.
Even though it can be cumbersome, bring your tripod. †Itís essential.
To keep your camera from trying to figure out what to focus on, use the landscape or scenery setting. If youíre lucky enough to have a fireworks setting on your camera, use it. (Duh, right?) If not, check to see if your camera has a low light/night setting. †Turn the flash off and experiment with the different modes to see what works best.
Simply pressing the button on your camera to take the photo can cause camera shake, so use your cameraís self-timer. You know, itís the one you use when trying to take a family photo that always seems to go off too soon or too late. †If it has a setting for the length of time, use the shortest time possible so the explosions youíre trying to capture arenít burned out before the camera can capture them.
Smartphone Apps for Night Photography:No guarantees here since I haven't had a chance to experiment with it yet (the 4th is still a few days away), but I've done some research and downloaded a few iphone apps to help capture low light night photography and fireworks photos. (Donít worry, Android users, Iíve got you covered too!)
iPhone Camera Apps:
Android Camera Apps:
Composition when Photographing FireworksOne of the coolest thing about watching a fireworks show, next to the smell of the gunpowder and the boom you can feel in your chest, is seeing how huge they look raining down above you in the big dark sky. †But in a photograph, a colorful burst on a black background will not give your photo any perspective to the height or size of the explosion.
You can thank me with chocolate for hooking you up!
Please tweet us your firework photos to @fatwallet. We canít wait to see them!
Happy 4th of July!
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