Fun with Fireworks (How to)

Backyard fireworks are becoming a tradition around here, and since I'm not fond of crowds, you won't hear a complaint from me!  Especially when friends and family join us!  

Fourth of July has become one of my favorite holidays because I love to photograph the kids enjoying the fireworks.  I have a little tutorial at the bottom of the post if you're interested in getting those creative firework photos next year. 

We kicked off our day with water balloons, croquet, dinner and, of course treats.  Then ended the day in the backyard with fireworks.  

And then the fireworks came out.  I love how they lined up biggest to littlest all on their own.  

An intense game of Rock Paper Scissors to decide who got to shoot off the first firework. 

A few more snacks and finally the sun set. 

How to take Fun Firework Photos

Switching your camera to manual mode will allow for you choose the correct settings to capture the motion of the light.  

  • Use a long shutter speed (how long the shutter is open). I suggest starting at 4-6 seconds and adjusting as needed. This is the most important part as it allows the camera to catch the long streaks of light created by the fireworks.  While fireworks are pretty in person, I love the way we can creatively capture them with a camera. 
  • A tripod is very important for these types of photos because of the long shutter speed.  If you don't have one, then set your camera on a something sturdy that will not move.  I have this one by Manfrotto, but a light-weight tripod like this one works just fine as well. 
  • Choose a high aperture.  By using a larger aperture (around f11-f14) you are increasing the area that is in focus and since it can be hard to focus in the dark, this increases the likelihood of getting an in focus image. 
  • Normally in a dark situation you would want a higher ISO, but you don't want to unnecessarily add digital noise to the photo, so keeping the ISO at a low number is just fine for fireworks. 

A few other things to try: 

  • Use portrait mode to get those tall fireworks.
  • Try creating a silhouette by having someone stand with the firework glow behind them. 
  • Try it with glowsticks too!  The kids ended the night with a glowstick party in the barn which made for some pretty sweet photos also. 

Hope you had a great Fourth! 

Complete Guide to Backing up your digital photos

I wiggled my computer mouse with a barely still warm cup of coffee in hand.  Flipped open Facebook, and there it was.  A mama friend had just asked for a computer repairman recommendation.  I immediately texted her inquiring about her computer and found out that she couldn’t get it to start up.  She was desperate for a fix, since every photo of her two sweet girls were on there with no back up.  None.   

I tightly crossed my fingers that the problem was something that my techie husband could help her with, and after bit of troubleshooting, he luckily saved the images and fixed her computer with a spare hard drive we had on hand.  You better believe that my friend immediately started backing up those photos after she got her computer back.  


It seriously broke my heart to worry that she could have lost those photos.  I know first hand that losing photos is painful and it still makes my heart sink when I go looking back through my photo archives and remember that I lost 6 months of photos from 2008 after a computer reformat.  

A split second decision can wipe out months or years of photos.  

And sometimes you won't even realize you did it for weeks.  That's what happened to me.  I blissfully reformatted my computer and didn't even realize I was missing those photos until months later.  

Since then I've become slightly obsessed with making sure even my back ups are backed up.  

Did you know there are other threats to our digital photos?  

When my friend recently had her computer trouble, she didn't even realize that hard drives could just fail.  How do they fail?  Hard drives are simply mechanical devices that wear out.  The lifespan of a typical hard drive is only about 3-5 years.  So that means if you have a 3 year old, you're already hitting what could be your hard drive's last year of life!  Let that sink in.  

There are other disasters out of our control as well.  Fire, flooding, earthquakes are all natural disasters that could destroy your home, along with everything in it, including those valuable hard drives.  

If I haven't totally scared you away from reading, and I've convinced you of the importance of backing up your digital photos, I've got a nugget of guidance to give you.  



One that is easy to set up and will bring you peace that your invaluable photo memories are safe.  With this guide, we’ll make sure you never have to experience the pain of losing photos.  Your future self thanks you!

Project Life Tip | One Little Bird Blog

Hi friends! I'm sharing a Project Life spread over on the One Little Bird blog today, and a tip about creating a cohesive layout using repeating elements. Hope you'll hop on over and check it out!

Project Life Tip by Donya Gjerdingen over on the One Little Bird blog
Project Life Tip by Donya Gjerdingen over on the One Little Bird blog