Boom, Boom, Boom… Even Brighter than the Moon

Alright, I’ll admit it. I’m a photo-junkie. My friends may act like my constant picture snapping annoys them, but I know deep down that they’re looking forward to seeing my latest uploads (right? ;)) Anyways, this Fourth of July, you may be attending a fireworks show near you. Ever try capturing the perfect “boom?” It sucks! You’re always a second too late and end up with smokey photos, blurry neons, or even worse, a black sky. Avoid photo mishaps with your fireworks this year — check out these simple tips courtesy of the Baltimore Sun:

  • Set your camera to manual: Turn off your auto-focus. Your camera will wear itself out trying to find something to focus on in the empty sky.  Focus on something that will be about the same distance as the bursts.  If you have a point-and-shoot that doesn’t give you the option of manual settings, set the dial to landscape mode (often an icon of mountains). A few cameras actually have a “fireworks” mode among their settings.
  • Turn off your flash: Unless you are trying to add a little fill light to something in the foreground, your flash is only going to upset the people around you.
  • Find your exposure: Getting the desired exposure for fireworks often takes some experimentation.  A good place to start is setting your camera to ISO 200 and the aperture to f11 with a ½ second exposure. One of the best things about digital photography is being able to instantly see your image and adjust your settings accordingly.  If the fireworks in your initial image are too dark, increase your ISO or change your aperture to f8 or f5.6.  If they are washed out, try ISO 100 or f16.

If these tips have completely confused you, remember this: As long as the cable release (or shutter button) is pressed, the shutter stays open. This makes photo-taking quick and is handy when you’re trying to capture the full range of a burst.

For the grand finale:  Because there are so many bursts happening at once, it is very easy to overexpose your image. Try a faster shutter speed, ¼ second or less.

The next day? Don’t forget to upload them to Shutterfly for easy access to prints, projects, and more.

Enjoy!

~E

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3 Responses to Boom, Boom, Boom… Even Brighter than the Moon

  1. dannykaya says:

    Outstanding!

  2. Brittany says:

    This is so funny because I always take the WORST photos. I’ll pass this tips along to my photo-junkie friends 🙂

  3. libs012 says:

    I dig this. Cause I ALWAYS try to take photos of fireworks–and they never come out. Thanks for the help

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