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How to photograph new years fireworks

December 30, 2010

I love fireworks.

I hope you do, too. So here are some basic steps and tips on how to photograph your New Years Firework Display:

1. Use a tripod or place your camera on a steady surface (like a railing). Ideally, you have a remote control/release for your camera – if you do – this is a good time to use it :)

2. Choose a low ISO between 200 – 400.

3. Choose a mid range f-stop for the photos. The photographs below, for example,  are taken with a F/ 8.

4. As for the shutter speed I use anywhere between 1.5 to 4 seconds. You might want to try a couple different exposures. It depends a little bit on the intensity of the fireworks, too. You do want to capture some of the movement of the fireworks – but on the other hand don’t want to over expose or get to much off the smoke in the photo.  If at all possible shoot up wind – this minimizes the smoke issue.

5. Framing the photo can be a little tricky since you do not know exactly where the firework will go off. If you choose a wider focal length your chance of getting the fireworks in the picture increases. You can always crop a picture later.

6. If you can capture fireworks over water you often get really nice reflections. But a nice building or landmark in front of the fireworks can look just as stunning.


Photo 1: Fireworks with a crowd – taken with 400 ISO, F/8 and 2.5 seconds. The people in the front add some depth to the picture.

photograph of fireworks with a crowd of people in Milford, CT

Photo 2: Close up off fireworks. ISO 400, F/8, 3 seconds.

fireworks close up - how to photograph fireworks

Photo 3: Multiple fireworks at the grand finale. ISO 400, F/8,  2 seconds.

multiple colorful fireworks - how to photograph fireworks

Photo 4: Happy New Year!!

Fireworks - Happy New Year!


Happy shooting!! May your next year be a happy and sparkling one – filled with wonder and magic!

One Comment leave one →
  1. keroome permalink
    December 31, 2010 6:55 pm

    Happy New Year! These photos are so well composed, it looks like you knew EXACTLY the spot they would explode. Great images.

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