Monday, June 29, 2015

How to Photograph Fireworks & Where We Buy Our Fireworks (No Dud Guarantee!)

This post is sponsored by Provo Fireworks. Check out their No-Dud Guarantee! 



The 4th of July is my favorite holiday. There is so much focus on family. We spent the morning watching the hot air balloons launch over our sitting before hitting the gorgeous parade. We walk around the craft and vendor fair and then have a delicious BBQ before finishing with an amazing firework show. I always end up with hundreds of pictures from the day. It is the perfect day to photograph, so many bright colors and family moments and of course... fireworks.

Photographing fireworks can be as easy or as hard as you want it to be. Most point and shoots and even some SLRs have a firework mode that you can change too and most of the items below are taken care of for you. Just set your camera on a tripod and you are ready to go. If you are like me and you love to have full control over your firework shot, use the tips below to get the perfect one.

Tripod and Shutter Speed: In order to capture great firework photos, you will need to set your shutter speed for a lot longer than the typical split second it is open so you will get a lot of arm shake blur if you don't have something to stabilize the camera. A tripod is the best and easiest way to go, but if you have somewhere safe you can set your camera and release the shutter with a timer or remote will work too. In a pinch I have sat on the ground with both of my knees up, resting up arms on my knees as a I photograph fireworks. It works, but  tripod is much easier. You will want your shutter speed to be at least 1 second long to capture the full explosion of each firework, but experiment with this. I usually shoot between 1 second and 4.


ISO: Turn off your auto ISO. In order to compensate for the dark, your camera is going to try to auto set itself to a higher ISO, but fireworks are so bright, it isn't necessary. Set your camera to a low ISO setting, like ISO 100.

Flash: There is no way you flash can reach all the way to the fireworks. With firework photos, all your camera flash is going to do is ruin the photos.



When to photograph: I like to photograph at the beginning and middle of a firework show the most. There is less smoke and just a few fireworks in the air at the time. During the "grand finale" there are a lot of fireworks in the sky at once, losing some of the details that make firework photos so much fun. You can drop the shutter speed down to 1 second or so to avoid this.

Aperture: You want a higher aperture, that will allow your backdrop to be in focus. I start at f/8 and work up from there if I need to. Usually between f/8 and f/16 is my firework sweet spot.


Focus: You are going to want to turn off your auto focus and use manual. Fireworks are too fast in the sky to use them as the focal point. Find something to focus on out where your fireworks are going to be. Usually you can do this before the show even starts and just leave it.

Make sure you are buying quality fireworks with a no-dud guarantee: This year for our firework show, we are buying from Provo Fireworks. Whenever I walk into one of those tent firework stands, I feel overwhelmed. I am surrounded by fireworks but I have no idea what they will look like once lit. I feel like I am guessing and hoping that I am buying a good show. Provo Fireworks offers videos of most of their fireworks so you can make sure you are buying exactly what you want. Check out the video on the Mardi Gras Fiesta Firework, it is one of my favorite aerials. They have a wide selection, so I can buy a good range of smaller and larger fireworks for our show. I LOVE that they have a good range of aerial fireworks too, I often feel like there is only one level of aerial and they offer aerials for all different kind of budgets.

Growing up in Utah, everyone used to drive to Wyoming to get their fireworks. If you wanted great fireworks, you headed to Wyoming, Provo Fireworks is finally offering these same fireworks right here in Utah for much cheaper. Since you buy online instead of at a tent, the overhead is much cheaper and they pass that savings on to you directly. You can pick up your fireworks in Provo for free or have them delivered for only $5 in Utah County.

Provo Fireworks is a small business committing to creating wonderful customer relationships. They offer a no-dud guarantee. If you firework is a dud, they will replace it. How awesome is that? You can buy each individual firework or you can buy one of the packages the owner has put together for different groups of people. He has packages for families with young kids, family with tweens and even one for a whole block party.

Where are you going to be photographing fireworks this year?
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32 comments:

Michelle said...

You've totally inspired me to try fireworks pics this year! I haven't had great results in the past but I'm ready to try your tips!

burlap+blue said...

Your photos are AMAZING!! I'll keep them in mind next weekend! Thanks for the tips!

Lydia Filgueras said...

Great set of tips. I hope to see some awesome photos on FB and IG this week!

bxcrochet said...

Those are some great tips! My daughter is old enough to enjoy fireworks now so I will be taking pictures this year.

Michelle F.

Integrated Learning Strategies said...

How cool! These are great tips! I've never had the opportunity to take "real" pics of fireworks. I really should try this out this year with my camera. It would be a ton of fun. Sounds like I need to find a better spot to shoot them this year.

kristi dominguez said...

These are all GREAT tips! I cannot wait to try them out on the 4th!

Crystal said...

Great tips! I need to remember to get ready for the show early so I'm not racing to snap shots at the end when it's smokey.

Michelle Nahom said...

Great tips! Every year I say I'm going to get the camera out and every year I don't. Maybe this will be the year I do!

alexandria waning said...

great tips. i think ill try some out with my new camera. hope you have a happy 4th!

Masshole Mommy said...

I will be sure to try some of these on Saturday!

Masshole Mommy said...

I will be sure to try some of these on Saturday!

Six Time Mommy TEST said...

What great tips! I've tried taking photos of fireworks and its never worked out. I'll have to take your advice next time! - Jeanine

Julie @ Girl on the Move said...

What great tips! I'm hoping I can make them work at one of the four parties I'm attending this week!

JaimeLovesStuff said...

These are really great tips! I love shooting fireworks and these definitely work!

Ckrusch said...

Love this! Can't wait to use your tips on the 4th!

Jeana B. said...

Awesome tips!
I love taking pictures of fireworks whenever there is. I agree that dropping the shutter speed down to 1 second can avoid the loss of some important details of a great fireworks photograph. Very helpful guys! Keep it up!

Joanne T Ferguson said...

Thank you for sharing these awesome tips! I love fireworks but have never thought to photograph them!

Mamal Diane said...

Wow, amazing pictures. Thanks for all the tips.

Jess rey said...

those are great pictures. We do not buy fireworks. When I lived in Provo they had the BEST fireworks!

Cathy Mini said...

I have always loved photographing fireworks--my biggest advice would be to use a tripod!

Rebecca Brosemer said...

We are watching the fireworks at the lake on our boat so that might make it difficult to get good shots!! I'm going to give it a try though. Thanks for the helpful tips!!

Emily Glover said...

I love these tips for photographing fireworks. FIreworks are one of my favorite things about July 4th!

PalmTrees SeaBreeze said...

Mine never ever come out right. I have a lot of streak in the sky pictures. ;)

Stroller Savvy said...

I am so excited to try this- I try and fail every single year!

Margaret Stringham Christensen said...

Great pictures...thanks for the tips.

Margaret Stringham Christensen said...

Great pictures...thanks for the tips.

Denea Duran said...

Great tips! I can never get any good pictures of fireworks so thanks for sharing!

Rebecca Hubbell said...

These are great tips for Saturday! Thanks so much for sharing how to capture these special moments!

Britni said...

Great tips! These are amazing pictures. I will have to give it a try!

Jillian@FoodFolksandFun said...

These are some amazing tips!

Matt @ Plating Pixels said...

Wow how useful! I used to be more into general photography before blogging and food photography took over my life.

Living a Fit and Full Life said...

I wish I would have read this earlier. Our photos didn't come out well.

 
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