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15 tips for photographing fireworks

Huge Massive Colorful Firework

July 4th is just around the corner, which means fireworks everywhere, but these firework photography tips from Digital Photography School’s Darlene Hildebrandt are also perfect for capturing displays at weddings, Disney, or your neighbor’s flagrantly illegal activities at the block party.

Just try not to set up the tripod in front of anyone’s blanket, okay?

#1 Use the right equipment: use a sturdy tripod and remote to fire the camera  and bring an extra battery as long exposures tend to use them up quickly.  I say STURDY tripod because it needs to hold your camera steady for several seconds without sinking, tipping, or wobbling. I wrote an article on my site on Tips for buying a tripod of you need more info on what to get.

#2 Set your ISO low like 100 or 200, for a couple reasons. First the higher the ISO you use the more noise you’ll introduce into your images, so keep it low to prevent that. Noise also lives in blue areas of images and nighttime has a lot of blue so that compounds the issue.  Long exposures also tend to increase noise so if you add it all up you get a lot of noise so keep the ISO low to eliminate that variable.

#3 Turn OFF long exposure noise reduction.  This setting, while it does a really good job of noise reduction, adds an extra complication you don’t need when doing photography of fireworks.  The way it works is that if you take say a 10 second exposure, it takes a second one of equal length but just black (the shutter doesn’t open). Then it merges the two together and blends the blank one into the shadow areas of the first one which is where noise typically shows the most. The problem is that fireworks happen so fast you don’t want to have to wait 10 seconds to be able to see your image, make any adjustments and shoot again. I did this once my accident and it was very frustrating and I missed most of the show and did not get the results I wanted because I couldn’t review and correct.

Full story at Digital Photography School.

Photography tips from the pros.

Photo credit: Fotolia

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