5 Tips for Capturing Stunning Fireworks Photos

Red White and Blue Fireworks

Happy 4th of July!

Red White and Blue Fireworks

5 Tips for Capturing Stunning Fireworks Photos

As you gear up a day of fun with family and friends, here are a few things to keep in mind if you plan on pulling out your camera to capture 4th of July fireworks photos:

  1. Location, location, location – Be aware of your composition and consider including an interesting background such as a city skyline, architecture, or reflections
  2. Use the right gear – A tripod and cable release are essential for capturing sharp long exposure photographs.
  3. Pre-focus – Focus on the interesting elements in your photo BEFORE the fireworks start, and then switch to manual focus. This will keep your camera from “hunting” for focus before every frame.
  4. Use “bulb” mode and set your aperture to f/9 – Bulb mode holds your shutter open for as long as you press the shutter button on your camera/cable release. Hold your shutter open long enough to capture the movement as the fireworks fall toward the ground.
  5. Have fun and experiment with your settings

When the sky starts to fill with smoke, take a break from photographing and just sit back and enjoy the moment, but keep your cable release handy. When the finale starts, you’ll probably want to capture a few more frames!


If you have any questions about photographing fireworks, let me know in the comments below, or contact me directly. I’m always happy to help!

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  1. Donald Henninger on July 3, 2020 at 1:03 pm

    Went to one of the Fireworks baseball games for the Colorado Rockies. Tripod sounds nice but as a non-registered, non-professional, tripods were/are prohibited.
    What to do?
    Looped my camera neck strap around my leg, sat on it, and used isometric tension techniques, similar to pistol shooting, to steady the camera for the several second exposures.

    • Angela Andrieux on July 6, 2020 at 8:01 am

      Very clever!! Did you get some good shots?

      I’ve found a small tabletop tripod or Platypod can be a great tool when full size tripods aren’t allowed.

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