With New Year approaching fast, here are my quick tips for photographing fireworks. You can download a printable PDF copy of this guide to keep on your phone for future reference by clicking the link below.
1. First and foremost, you will need a sturdy tripod. This does not have to cost a fortune. The important thing is that your tripod should be sturdy enough to support the weight of your camera and lens and hold it steady.
2. If at all possible you should use a remote trigger release. If you do not have one I recommend you use a delayed shutter release of one or two seconds. This should be a short enough delay for you to pre-empt your shot.
3. I recommend NOT using Long Exposure Noise Reduction. I won’t go into detail here. The way LENR works can seriously hinder when you can take a shot. I prefer, if necessary, to de-noise in post processing.
4. Do not use live view. Try to use the cameras viewfinder as much as possible to line up your shots
5. Find a good location to shoot from before the display starts. Don’t try and shoot from within the crowd. You will be able to see the display from way behind the crowd. You may even be able to get the crowd in your shot if using a wide angle lens.
6. Shooting in RAW format will, in general, give you better results. If the idea of shooting in RAW format scares you, it is quite alright to shoot JPG.
7. Most importantly, shoot in Manual mode.
8. Use a low ISO level, that said, not too low. Around 200 ISO should do the trick.
9. Set your aperture to f5.6 or f8.
10. Turn off autofocus and manually set your lens to infinity.
11. Set your shutter speed to between 2 and 10 seconds and take a test shot. If the image is too dark decrease the shutter by 2 seconds, if it’s too light increase the shutter speed by 2 seconds and repeat your test shot. Once you find a shutter speed that gives you the look you want stick with it. Do not make any more adjustments.
12. The most important thing as with all of your photography, stay safe, have fun and enjoy.
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