It is almost 4th of July again and you are preparing to be able to shoot some amazing fireworks shots but you just do not know how to do it. Well my friends, you have come to the right place. I love the big fireworks celebrations and capturing the grand fireworks displays we have across the country is a perfect way to remember the great celebration.
So what do you need to be able to capture great images of the celebration? We have compiled a quick and easy list to get you going to get some great results.

How To Take Fireworks Pictures in 6 Easy Steps

1. Location Location Location

Just like buying real-estate, getting a great fireworks shot is often determine by where you are shooting from. Here are a few tips.

  • Show up early
  • Find a great spot
  • Add interest in background and foreground

For added impact, get additional subjects in your fireworks photos. Large buildings look great in fireworks pictures. Lakes and rivers create beautiful reflections. Adding a person or persons to the photo adds interest. A flash will be of no use in lighting the fireworks, but can be useful in lighting a foreground subject watching the fireworks. Try lighting foreground subjects with your flashlight. You will probably want to focus on foreground subjects instead of the fireworks for these shots. Again, be creative!

2. Bring and use a Tripod

For any great landscape type photography especially at night I ALWAYS recommend a tripod. No, you do not need any special tripod but get one that you can easily carry and have with you almost all the time. This is one of the tools that will make your photography sooooooo much better than it has been. Help yourself jump to the next level and pass many of your peers and get this tool.

How To Take Fireworks Pictures 6 Easy Steps
Recommendation:  Manfrotto BeFree Compact Lightweight Tripod for Travel Photography (Black)

3. Select the Right Lens

Most camera lenses will work well as long as they are the right focal length or focal length range. Most camera lenses provide very good optical quality at f/8 through f/16, the apertures most used for fireworks photography. If you are not sure what focal length you need, take a couple of lenses. Zoom lenses provide the most flexibility if you are not sure of your viewing distance or focal length requirements. A scouting trip prior to the event will (as always) prove valuable.

4. Use Manual Focus

You will want to set your focus manually because your camera will not be able to focus well at night with the lights moving all over the place. You will guess your approximate distance from where you are shooting from to where the display will be. This does not need to be exact because with your f – stop set at f8 to f16 your depth of field or the area that will be in focus will be relatively large. Also you will be doing test shots once the event gets going so don’t worry too much about this.

5. Set Up Shutter Speed

This may be the first step that gets a little tricky. This may be the first time you have to figure out manual release. Look online or in your camera manual to figure out how to do this.

Setting for Manual Release
2 – 10 seconds

Play with this to get the results you want. You can get a device like the one used in this time lapse photography tutorial to automate the some of the Manual Release timing.

How To Take Fireworks Pictures 6 Easy Steps

6. Set Your Camera ISO

ISO is a setting that is a measure of sensor light sensitivity. This used to be used in the old film days. If your ISO is too high your camera will produce more noise or dots on your images.

Set ISO to 100 or the minimum – Low ISO for Low Noise

That’s it!

Now you are ready to shoot for it to get dark and start capturing some great images. Be sure to check the histogram and focus of your first few images and make the needed minor corrections.

How To Take Fireworks Pictures 6 Easy Steps


Bonus tips:

Flashlight – Bring a small flashlight so you can see what you are doing while it is dark. It will make all the difference in the world.

Additional Magic

For additional magic layer your best images in Photoshop.
See more about that here. Amazing multiple fireworks photos with a little help from Photoshop


I hope you found this tutorial helpful please be sure to share it with your friends on your social networks. Let me know of any recommended changes you may have and I will be happy to include them.

Until next time get out and capture your adventure!


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Written by Wayne Moran - Visit Website