How to Photograph Fireworks

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Fireworks are best photographed by setting up the camera on a tripod, using a wide-angle lens to capture the entire burst, setting the shutter speed very slow and setting the aperture to F16 or even F22. Get great results when photographing fireworks with advice from a professional photographer in this free video on photography.

Part of the Video Series: Photography Tips Techniques
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm John Budden, with Shutter Priority Imaging Center, and also, Heritage Portrait Studios. We are a full service imaging center. We can pretty much do about anything you want. We do portraiture here, we do fine portraiture here at our studio, but we also process film, and also your digital images. We're also very visible online at You could actually e-mail, you could actually sign up for our lab accounts and actually interface with our professional lab. Even as an amateur you can get good quality photog, you know, pictures made. We we pretty much use all professional materials here, you know, for printing and all that, for archivability and stuff like this. We also do custom framing for, you know, some people that really want that full service all the way to from capture all the way to final pick-up, your print ready to hang on the wall. You know, we do a lot of professional stuff here, but you know, every once like, you know, you know, we like to do fun stuff too; like on the Fourth of July; like shooting fireworks, you know. One thing about fireworks is is is it's one of these things where tryin' to get your timing down is kind of very difficult, you know. Trying, you know, ya' sit there and wait for it to burst, and my my shutter speed's too, did I miss it, did I get it. The easiest way to shoot fireworks is is what I'm going to do is I'm going to show you with this camera here what you're going to have to do is naturally, you're going to have to have it on a tripod so it's very steady. You look for where the bursts are typically going to be at. You want a lens wide enough angle so you can get the whole burst, because that's usually the most attractive way to do that. To shoot fireworks, what we're going to do is we're going to be setting our shutter speed really slow, you know, anywhere from a thirtieth to probably even a half of a secondths; in that range there. In order to compensate for this slow shutter speed what we're going to do now is we're going to take our aperture, and we're going to stop our aperture down like to F16, possibly F22. The idea behind this is is we want the aperture to be small enough that the the ambient light during the night, like streetlights and stuff like this, will not expose the film, yet the bright fireworks will definitely be recorded on your film. This way, you can do, you don't have to worry about that timing of that burst. But also, like for finales, what's really fun is you get to do those multiple bursts on the same frame, and this is really a fun way how to do photography taking pictures of fireworks.


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