Step by step instructions on photographing fireworks from how to choose
the best location to camera settings, equipment and more! Third-time guest
David Sussman gives us such great tips and explains the how and why so well!
How to Photograph Fireworks with David Sussman
The Proven Formula
- Set up on a tripod
- Use a shutter release CABLE (remote releases are not always reliable)
- ISO 200
- 1/10 sec to 30 sec shutter speed
- Set focus to Infinity
- Try a wide angle lens (15mm up to 50mm) for better depth of field
- Keep the wind at your back
*this formula also works well for photographing lightning*
- Call the event organizer to get the exact location they are being shot from.
- Scout locations for the best viewing.
– Look at foreground options.
– Plan your entrance AND exit strategies – traffic will be terrible.
- Check weather apps for wind speed and direction.
– Try to keep the wind at your back. Smoke and debris can ruin a great image.
Timing Your Shots
- Use longer exposures in the beginning of the show to capture multiple bursts or to capture the whole explosion from the ground up and shorter exposures later in the show to eliminate extra smoke.
- Time it and try it. Count how many seconds it takes from launch to explosion to fade and set your shutter accordingly. Push the shutter release at the sound of the initial launch or just capture the burst. There will be plenty of opportunity for experimentation. Average time for individual bursts is 2-5 seconds.
Photographing Fireworks from a Boat
- Stabilize the boat as best you can with anchors fore and aft.
- There will always be some traffic on the water to cause movement.
- Limited to 1 second exposures
- About 50% of images will be blurry due to movement.
- BUT – you’ll get views that most others won’t and you may avoid heavy traffic.
Stack shorter exposures to get multiple bursts in one frame.
– PHOTOSHOP TIPS
Choose your images and place in individual layers.
Go into Layer Mode
– choose the Lighten option
– play with Blending modes
— this mode allows the LIGHT from the stacked images to show through.
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