I love the Fourth of July – the pool parties, the eating, and the fireworks! A few years ago I stumbled on an amazing hidden spot to watch fireworks, and I figured out how to take pictures of the colorful explosions.


Here are some of my top tips:

– The most important thing is to hold your camera as steady as possible. If you have a tripod, use it. If not, try to find a steady surface to rest your camera on. Fireworks need a longer exposure time (meaning the shutter is open longer), so if your camera moves while the shutter is open, your picture will turn out blurry.

– If you have a point and shoot camera, check to see if it has a “Fireworks” mode. If it does, use that. If it doesn’t, leave a comment with your camera model and I’ll tell you the best setting.

– A remote control is a great way to get shots. Many Digital SLRs have the option to add a remote (and they can be pretty cheap, I got mine for $30), which completely eliminates camera shake.

– If you don’t have a remote control and getting one isn’t an option, set the self-timer on your camera. It’s a bit harder to time the shots, but with some practice you’ll get magic results.

fireworks, July 4, 2010

– For those of you more familiar with how to work your camera’s settings, I’ll tell you how I set up my camera for fireworks. I shoot in manual, and I put my shutter in “bulb” mode. Bulb mode lets you keep the shutter open as long as you hold down the button (this is where a remote comes in handy). My aperture is usually between f/56 – f/8, and my ISO is set to 100.

– Make sure your flash is off!

– Don’t be afraid to get the crowd or skyline in the shots. You can get some amazing silhouette and city pictures.


Do you have any fireworks tips? Leave them in the comments. Then, upload your favorite shots from the holiday to the TSAM Photo Fun Flickr group so we can compliment and learn from each other (If you don’t have a flickr account, just link to your photos in the comments).

Any questions? Fire away!

Want more tips on Fourth of July photography? You can find them here thanks to HP, my awesome photo partners.