How to Photograph Fireworks

July 5, 2012

in Photography, Tips & Tutorials


Our town, Viroqua, puts on a lovely little firework show every year. Yesterday, for the first time, I decided to take photos of it.


I’d never photographed fireworks before. What’d ya think?


Not too bad for the first try, eh?

I was not using a tripod or any other kind of support – this was entirely hand-held. I am that kind of woman.


I did this by putting my camera into “Shutter Priority” mode, allowing the camera to automatically match the aperture to the shutter speed of my choosing. To capture fireworks in this way, I used the shutter speeds between 50 and 80, and the ISO of 1000 on my Nikon D90 with the 18-105 lens.


I found that the best way to photograph them was to have the camera focus automatically by pressing the shutter release button halfway as the rocket went up, and then release the shutter (i.e, hit the button all the way) at the exact moment each rocket blew up.

I then worked all the photos over in Photoshop Elements, sharpening and increasing the brightness and the contrast of each photo.


And this is what I got as a result.


I absolutely love it.

The rest of the photos are below. Enjoy!













Happy Birthday, America!

You made all my dreams come true.


1 Shannon July 5, 2012 at 11:05 pm


2 Jen July 6, 2012 at 12:09 am

These are fantastic photos! Even viewed small on my phone, I could hear the bang and crackle of the fireworks. Beautifully done!

3 Jeri Safari August 17, 2012 at 4:19 pm

I just had to leave you a comment (praise) because when I got to the bottom of this page and read your last sentence, my eyes teared up big time! My husband is also an immigrant to this country (from Iran) and I think so many younger Americans take things for granted, even myself sometimes. I think every teenager should attend a Naturalization Oath Ceremony and hear the moving speeches, it was quite an unforgetable experience for me. Now having said that, I found your site while looking for yogurt making help, Iranians love their yogurt too =), amazing job, thanks for posting!

4 Sofya August 17, 2012 at 4:23 pm

Oh funny, my native Azerbaijan is right next to Iran.

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