Remember, remember the fifth of November…and don’t forget your camera! If you’re heading out to enjoy some firework fun this Bonfire Night, we’ve got some top tips to help you take fantastic photos of the bright and beautiful display above your head.
From working out the best spots for photos to preparing your camera, read on to find out how to photograph fireworks.
Find the best spot to stand
When you’re taking pictures of fireworks, find a location with an unobstructed view of the sky. But don’t get too close to the fireworks – you don’t want to be craning your neck all night! While you’ll want to avoid heads in the crowd getting into your shots, you can use the foreground to your advantage. From people in the crowd to trees and buildings, keep your eye out for objects you can place in the foreground of your photos to add interest.
Also think about the role the background plays in your firework photography. If you’re going to a city demonstration, try to get the lit-up buildings in the background: it will give another dimension to your photos.
There’s no predicting which way a firework will throw out its colourful sparks, so make sure you leave plenty of room in the frame to capture it exploding either vertically or horizontally. You should also use a wide lens to ensure you can cover a big expanse of the sky.
Firework photography tip: For clear, sharp photos, avoid standing too near smoke from fireworks. Better still, try getting your best photos early in the demonstration, before too much smoke builds up.
Framing your shot
Once you’ve chosen your location, it’s time to think about how you’re going to frame your shots. Think about whether you want to take portrait or landscape photos (or a combination of the two). Portrait photos are great for showing fireworks’ movement, while wide-angled landscape photos allow you to capture the biggest displays. What’s more, wide-angled firework photos look stunning on canvas prints. Perfect if you’re in need of some fresh wall art for your home.
Firework photography tip: Experiment with your focal lengths for variety. How close you are to the fireworks, and how much you want to capture, will determine your zoom. Changing focal length will mean refocusing your lens, something to keep in mind if fireworks are released in quick succession.
Set up a tripod
Unless you want a deliberate blurred effect in your photos, you’ll want to keep your camera as still as possible. Rockets can take a few seconds to reach their peak, so you’ll need slow exposure for best results. Keeping your hand perfectly still isn’t always easy, so using a tripod can be a smart solution.
Firework photography tip: Going to a public display? With plenty of people moving around nearby, you’ll want a sturdy tripod to make sure you can capture high quality images without any wobbles.
Prepare your camera
Even if you’ve got the best spot and positioned your tripod perfectly, you won’t be able to take your best photos if your camera isn’t set up properly. For the best results, turn off your flash and use manual mode so you can control the exposure and aperture. Our recommended camera settings for fireworks are: ISO 100 – 200, f/11 aperture and ½ second shutter speed.
Firework photography tip: If your photos look too dark, simply tweak the shutter speed to make it slower and allow more light in, while keeping the aperture setting the same. Keep slowing down the shutter speed until you get the desired effect. Remember you’ll need a tripod for slower shutter speeds, otherwise your photos will come out blurry. Don’t be afraid to tweak your settings for the perfect shot.
Don’t forget the sparklers!
Close ups of sparklers make brilliant Bonfire Night photos, but remember to wear gloves if you’re handling them, and keep their sparks well away from your camera.
Firework photography tip: To photograph sparklers, shoot with manual exposure, changing your ISO, shutter speed and aperture. To bring out the contrast between bright sparklers and dark surroundings, opt for a low ISO and use a long shutter speed to capture long light trails. Aperture doesn’t have to be too extreme – f8 should help to keep sharpness.
Looking for a way to showcase your firework photography? Why not create your very own photo book? Look for premium papers and a layflat binding to show off your images to best effect.
Whatever you get up to on the fifth of November, from enjoying the fireworks in the garden to heading to public displays, have a great time and take lots of lovely photos! Share your snaps with us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter too, we’d love to see them.