The ProShow Blog

Tips, tutorials & inspiration for making slideshows

5 Tips for Photographing Fireworks

Fireworks over Lake Austin. Photo by atmtx.

For many us, the 4th of July weekend is all about picnics, soaking up sun, having fun on the water and enjoying a long weekend with the family. Naturally, a big highlight of every Independence Day is the fireworks!

Fireworks images are powerful and can add a very unique sense of energy and action to a 4th of July slideshow. The downside of course is that they can be a little tricky to capture.

If you’re using a point and shoot camera, check your camera settings or documentation. You may already have a ‘Fireworks Mode’ built in and that usually does a great job of capturing fireworks photos.

If you’re using a DSLR, here are a few tips that can help you get some great fireworks photos!

  1. Arrive Early: Make sure you scout your location ahead of time so you know the best vantage point for getting a really great shot. Think about incorporating additional elements into your shots, like a landmark or body of water. This makes your final image much more unique and interesting than just a single burst against a black sky. Also be sure to arrive early so you have time to set up and claim your spot!
  2. Use a Tripod: A tripod is a must when shooting fireworks since you’ll be shooting long exposures. You may also want to consider using a shutter release cable which will also help with stability.
  3. Turn Off your Flash: It’s normally dark outside when a fireworks show commences, so you could be inclined to use your flash. Don’t! Turn your flash off and set your camera to manual mode so you can control the settings yourself.
  4. Set Your Focus to Manual: Look for a subject near where the action will be taking place and focus on that. Once the fireworks start, check your focus to make sure you’re still on target.
  5. Choose the right aperture and ISO: I normally use an aperture of f/8 and an ISO of 100. To capture longer light trails, I’ll often use shutter speeds of 2-4 seconds. Experiment with your own camera settings till you get the look you’re after.

Need some inspiration? Check out this collection of 100 amazing fireworks photos from around the world.

Have you had success shooting photos of fireworks? What’s your best tip for getting a great image?




As a member of Photodex's events team, Dylan specializes in teaching pro photographers and slideshow hobbyists alike how to use ProShow in their business. He's an avid student of photography and enjoys Austin's eclectic mix of music, art and nature.