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!