Fireworks Photography Tips by Satish Chelluri
The key success factor for photographing fireworks is the selection of vantage points. It is always better to reach the venue early and reserve the place to avoid distractions in front of the camera. These are the minimum required kit
1. Tripod - You need a tripod to shoot the fireworks with long shutter speed to hold the camera steady
2. Cable release – It will help to trigger and have control over the shutter speed in bulb mode.
3. Spare batteries – Since these are long exposure shots, the batteries may drain based on the duration of the fireworks, better to carry one fully charged spare battery.
4. Have enough memory cards if you shoot in RAW
Settings: I shoot the fireworks in manual mode with lower aperture (Say F/8, F/11, F/13, F/16), slow shutter around varies from 2Sec to 6 Sec and ISO -100 (Always use low ISO
The above settings may vary depends on the firework's light.
Focus: focus the fireworks first and switch off the autofocus of your lens to avoid of focusing for every shot. I have focused on the first fireworks manually. But it is not always practical to focus fireworks. So manual focus your lens at infinity. If you are using wide-angle lens and your composition is allowed to keep the minimum focal length (say 18mm for kit lens) then manual focus the lens at infinity (∞).
Noise reduction: Switch off the noise reduction in your camera to avoid the double shooting time for pictures. If your shutter speed is 6 sec then the completion of the picture will be a total 12 Sec with noise reduction on.
Turn off the IS or VR: Turn off the IS (Image Stabilization in Canon) or VR (Vibration Reduction in Nikon) of the lens since the camera is mounted on tripod. Otherwise, it will introduce motion objects to the camera and causes the blurriness of the images.
Cover the viewfinder: Cover the viewfinder to avoid unnecessary light entering into the camera.
These are the below few things I have experienced while shooting the fireworks
1. Since all the public will gather to enjoy the fireworks, there is a chance of disturbing your tripod while they moving around the tripod.
2. Few guys are taking their selfies with mobiles near my setup. This may cause of entering the unnecessary flashlight into your camera and may affect the exposure of the picture.
3. Always shoot in RAW format to recover the highlights and shadows. We may experience little overexposure and underexposure with an unexpected light intensity of fireworks.
4. As per my personal experience with this shoot, better to have a wide-angle lens than kit lens to cover more fireworks in the frame. 5. Remove the filters from your lens.
PS: The fireworks duration is very limited (depends on the event), try to grab every second into your frame).
About Satish Chelluri
Satish is working as a Software engineer in an IT industry but his interest is always in Photography. This interest started in his childhood when he used to attend marriages. The amount of zeal and concentration the photographers used to put in capturing the proceedings have made him like Photography and it grew exponentially as he grew up. He has started taking up professional photography when he got a compliment for his pictures taken in marriage. His pictures were far better than the Wedding photographer of that marriage. This incident has boosted up his confidence in taking the photography a serious habit.
Feedback about SIA Photography classes from Satish
No doubt, Saurabh is my best mentor to my photography passion. I have learned the Basics of Photography from him and became a professional photographer now. Still, I can remember all the tips and tricks he taught to me. That is the power of his workshop. The field trips helped a lot to clear many clarifications practically. I loved the way he points the mistakes of our photos in the SIA Photos FB group. I am still learning many unknown things through the SIA Photogs FB group. I am proud to be part of the SIA group and you as a mentor.
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