5 Tips for Stunning Fireworks Photos

Happy 4th of July!

Sea World Fireworks Viewed from Fiesta Island | San Diego, CA

For those who are planning on photographing their local fireworks show tonight, I’ve put together a few tips for making your photos stand out from the crowd:
  1. Location, location, location – Be aware of your composition and consider including an interesting background such as a city skyline, interesting architecture, or reflections.
  2. Use the right gear – A tripod and cable release are essential for capturing sharp long exposure photos.
  3. Pre-focus – Focus on the interesting elements in your photo BEFORE the fireworks start, and then switch your camera 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!


When you process your fireworks photos, keep Lightroom’s new Dehaze feature in mind. The photo above was taken last year and I didn’t do much with it because of the smoke-filled sky. However, I reprocessed it for this post and, as you can see below, Dehaze (and a bit of contrast & clarity) worked WONDERS on this photo!
Fireworks Before and After Lightroom Dehaze
Pretty amazing, right?

Have a happy & safe 4th!!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links which means that I may receive a commission if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase. I only share products that I believe will be valuable to my readers. All opinions are my own.

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