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How to Photograph Fireworks: 4 Simple Steps

image via Flickr, Anthony Quintano

image via Flickr, Anthony Quintano

Fireworks have always been a favorite of mine, but trying to capture them on a camera? Well…not so much! This is no time for the auto settings on your smartphone. Let’s look at some simple ways to capture the moment beautifully from your phone: 

1. Use the “landscape” mode

When you open your phone’s camera, it automatically tries to find an object to focus on. With a completely black sky, your camera isn’t going to know what to do. By putting your camera in “landscape” mode, it will preset the focus to infinity and narrow the lens opening. This will keep both near and far objects in focus.

If you don’t see the landscape mode on your phone, you’ll want to manually set the focus to infinity. You can download apps that will give you this option. For iPhones, use Camera+ and manually select and set a focal point in the distance. On an Android, try the Open Camera app.

2. Use a tripod

Now’s the time for your steady hand! When taking a photo of the fireworks, you phone’s camera will need to hold the shutter open long enough to capture the fireworks. The longer the shutter is open, the more susceptible your photo is to motion blur. Use a tripod to ensure there is no movement. This is where your selfie stick could come in handy or even grab a Gorillapod to stand up on the ground, wrap around poles, etc! 

3. Turn off the flash

When taking a photo of fireworks, you need the camera to keep the shutter open much longer (hence the reason for a tripod). By turning you flash off, you will let your phone’s camera know that it only has available light to take a picture. 

4. Turn down the ISO

This is where it can get tricky. Even though you are shooting in the dark, the fireworks are bright. To avoid overexposure and reduce noise, take your camera out of Auto ISO and change the setting to ISO 100 or even lower. The ISO setting is usually found under the main menu or in the settings within the camera app! 

Can’t wait to see your photos! Are we following each other on Instagram? Come on over and say “hi!"