Tips from the pros for photographing fireworks

Tips from the pros for photographing fireworks

If you want to capture a photograph of this weekend’s fireworks displays, here are some tips News-Gazette photographers have used.

• Use a tripod. You’ll need to use a long exposure to capture the streaks and shellbursts. This is the most important item you’ll need.

• If you can, use a remote release so you don’t shake the camera during the exposure.

• If you are using a point and shoot digital camera, use the “fireworks” setting. You may have to dig into the menus to find it, but most have such a setting that optimizes your exposure.
If you are using a digital SLR or a camera with advanced features, try these settings in manual mode:
    — An ISO of 400 to 800.
    — An aperture of f/8 or f/11.
    — Turn on the camera’s Long Exposure noise reduction.
    — Turn off the autofocus and focus to infinity.
    — Turn off any built-in flash
    — Use the “B” or bulb shutter setting for a long exposure, or several seconds.

Finally, my method is to use a bulb shutter speed and a black piece of cardboard. As a series of shellburts begins, open the shutter and then place the cardboard over the lens at various times before releasing the shutter. This allows me to combine several bursts into one exposure without overexposing the image.

Good luck.

Darrell Hoemann is photo editor at The News-Gazette.