Every year parents ask me about taking photos of their kids during fireworks for the 4th of July so here is a few tips that may help. Sparkler photos are always fun too! Directions for sparklers is at the bottom of this post. This is mostly for people that have cameras that you can adjust your settings but this tips should help you either way.
This is the short explanation and I will tell you more in depth if you need it. Set your camera on Manuel mode and set your ISO to 100. Set your aperture to F11 or F16. Remember, the higher the number in our aperture, the more detail you will get. Set your shutter speed to 4 seconds long. When the fireworks go off, click your button, wait for the shutter to close.
Check to see if it’s to bright or to dark and then just adjust your shutter speed accordingly.
1. Some cameras have an AV or A mode. This means aperture priority, where you decide how blurry your background is. Since we’re wanting fireworks, we want more detail than any thing else. So bump up your aperture to somewhere between an F11 to F16.
2. The lower your ISO, the richer your color. We want deep, rich colors for this shot, so bring your ISO down to 100.
3. Definitely use a tripod if you have it! If you don’t have a tripod use a table top or put the camera between your knees. Since you set your camera in AV or A mode, your camera will determine how long your shutter needs to stay open to record the light from the fireworks.
4. When you see the fireworks go off, push your shutter release button, gently let go, and let the shutter stay open as long as it needs too. When you hear the click, that means the shutter closed.
5. Is the image dark? Look at your image, click your info button and see what the camera decided the shutter speed should be. Switch from AV mode to Manuel (M). Manuel isn’t as hard as people think I will walk you through it! Set your aperture at the f-stop you chose (somewhere between F11 to F16), and then adjust your shutter speed so it stays open longer than what the camera had decided. Example, you took the photo in AV mode. The camera decided to stay open for 4 seconds. But it wasn’t long enough because the image is to dark. Move to Manuel, set your aperture back, set the shutter to stay open for 6 seconds (two seconds longer) and try again.
6. Is the image to bright? You basically do what we did in step 5, except this time you adjust your shutter so it DOESN’T stay open as long. If your photo was to bright or overexposed, the shutter stayed open to long and let to much light in. We just need to speed that shutter speed up a bit. Maybe have it stay open for 1 second instead of 4 seconds.
Here is something to help out with those sparkler photos!
Set your ISO to 100, set your camera in Manuel mode, set your aperture to F8, set your shutter speed to 1 second. Have your little one twirl their sparkler in front of your camera while the shutter is open (make sure the camera is on a table or something that isn’t going to move). You should see a trail of light for every direction they twirled their sparkler. If not, slow your shutter speed down even more.