Camerahaus Guide: How to Photograph Fireworks
As the new year's day comes to a close, so is the perfect opportunity to shoot fireworks in the Philippines. Though they might be a little challenging to shoot, achieving great shots is not impossible to get. Here we share tips and tricks for taking the guesswork out of shooting this nighttime event.
ARRIVE EARLY TO SCOUT OUT YOUR LOCATION AND CHOOSE YOUR VANTAGE POINT.
Don't just set up minutes before midnight; get out early and find the perfect location for your shot. Think about the foreground/background elements and how you want them to be in your photo.
When you find your vantage point, set your focal length and manually set your focus before it gets dark. Focus on an area of the sky where the fireworks will be, or an object with the same distance.
LONG EXPOSURES ARE REQUIRED FOR FIREWORKS PHOTOGRAPHY — THIS MEANS SLOW SHUTTER SPEEDS
In able to achieve tack sharp images of the fireworks, you should keep your camera motionless by using a sturdy tripod and a shutter release cord. In addition to this, make sure that your horizon is straight.
TURN OFF YOUR FLASH AND SET THE CAMERA TO MANUAL MODE
For beginners, setting your camera to manual mode allows you to control the exposure and aperture yourself. A good starting place for your settings is ISO 100, f/11 aperture, at 1/2 second shutter speed. If the photos are looking too dim, adjust the shutter speed until you get the sweet spot.
SHOOT IN BULB MODE
Adjusting the shutter speed often may frustrate you at times, especially if the show is at its peak. If so, then use BULB mode. BULB can be accessed when scroll your shutter speed dial until you see the word BULB; usually it appears after the 30" shutter speed.
BULB allows you to to create individual exposures of your choice based on changing conditions. If you have a remote shutter release, use it to avoid camera shake. Hit the shutter as the firework is launching and hold it down until the burst has faded, typically a couple of seconds.
CHOOSE A VANTAGE POINT AGAINST THE WIND FROM THE BLOWING SMOKE
We know that fireworks create a lot of smoke too. If the smoke goes to your frame, that easily ruins the shot. We suggest then to choose your location upwind from the smoke. This makes for more comfortable shooting conditions, and from the right vantage point, smoke can sometimes add a beautiful effect to the shot, rather than ruin it.