Anne Darling Photography

How to Photograph Fireworks

If you want to to know how to photograph fireworks, just follow the guidelines below and you won't go wrong.

  1. Use a tripod and the self-timer together to ensure sharp pictures. Using the two together to make sure you minimize vibrations. The self-timer may have more than one setting so use the smallest amount of time as it is the more convenient.
  2. Your camera may have a fireworks setting - give it a go and see if you are happy with the results.
  3. If you want to try setting things manually, try using an f-stop of around f/8 or f/11 to start with and long shutter speeds of around 0.5 up to 4 seconds and then experiment with even longer speeds.
  4. Use a low ISO of around 50 or 100. As you will be taking shots using longer exposures, this will help to minimize digital noise. All four images on this page have low ISOs - the highest is 200 and the lowest is 80.
  5. Make sure you turn off the in-built flash, especially if you are in an automated mode, as it will be totally ineffective at the distances you are photographing and will only confuse the camera settings.
  6. Turn the camera through 90 degrees to make some portrait shots. This may be more successful than using landscape format as fireworks tend to rise vertically - especially rockets!
  7. Read the camera data for each of the images below - you might even like to print out this page and take it with you for reference. If so, don't forget to take a flashlight with you so you can read it!
photograph of fireworks

2007 Republic Day Celebrations on the Bosporus, Istanbul, Turkey
Photo by Nightstallion03
Panasonic DMC-FZ30
Focal length 7.4 mm
1/8 sec
ISO 80

photograph of fireworks

Fireworks from the riverfront in Owensboro, KY, July 4th, 2010
Photo by Allen Freeman
Nikon D300
focal length 35 mm
8/5 sec (1.6)
ISO 200

photograph of fireworks
Fireworks (Camp Nou 2005)
Photo by Mutari
Sony DSC-P200
focal length 10.7 mm
5/8 sec (0.625)
ISO 100

photograph of fireworks
Fireworks Competition, Plymouth 2003
Photo by Tony Atkin
Nikon E4300
focal length 8 mm
4 secs
ISO 100

More on Night Photography

Making photographs of fireworks is challenging due to the low levels of light involved but how to photograph fireworks shooting in low light and at night can result in stunning images, so don't put that digital camera away just yet! Start capturing eerie and intriguing photographs at all levels of light with Creative Night: Digital Photography Tips & Techniques , an information-packed guide from renowned photographer and author Harold Davis. He provides pages of field-tested techniques to help you find the proper exposures, including the best settings for ISO, aperture, and shutter. Don't miss the intriguing examples of his own work, including cityscapes, landscapes, and more. Walks readers through the intricacies of night and low light photography Explores the fundamental rules of exposure, including creative settings for ISO, aperture, and shutter speeds Informs and inspires with the author's own breathtaking examples of night photography, including cityscapes, landscapes, exciting night events, and other photos that illustrate the concepts Capture the visually exciting world after the sun goes down with this essential guide to night photography.

And if your shots didn't turn out exactly as you envisaged, how to photograph fireworks The Photoshop Darkroom offers limitless possibilities for photographers looking for jaw-dropping results, using powerful and innovative creative post-processing techniques. If you want folks to ask "How did you do that?" then this is the book for you! The images in The Photoshop Darkroom will inspire you and help you unleash your creative potential. You'll learn to view your own digital photography with new eyes. Step-by-step directions show you real-world examples of how to achieve the results you want from your photography and post-processing. (Product guides courtesy of

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