how to photograph fireworks

Image by Derek Key on Flickr

Regardless of where in the United States you might be, when the fireworks explode over the skies, you can bet that around you, there will be a see of onlookers, cooing in amazement with their iPhones in hand. 

Of course, fireworks are one of the hardest things to actually photograph — especially if you don’t have your camera dialed in with the right settings.

Because it’s such a challenger, we asked resident lighting expert John Cornicello to show us how to photograph fireworks in action. Check out his shooting tips along with his guide to post-processing in the clip below

Quick Exposure Settings:

  • ISO 100
  • f/16
  • Bulb Exposure * Varying the shutter speed will affect the length of the sparks.

Rather than film after dark, John recreated a fireworks show with some sparklers and our dimly lit studio. Sparklers burn a little brighter than traditional fireworks, so John had to bump his settings from his standard choice of f/16 to f/32 to make up the difference, but the resulting photographs are fantastic — and the tips remain essentially the same.

Have a safe and happy Independence Day! And if you want to know more about mastering photography in low light settings, check out our Night Photography Class Pack.