How do professional photographers shoot holiday fireworks

With the Chinese Lunar New Year just over, many people have also begun to take a keen interest in photographing fireworks. In order to share their experience and hope to help those who want to shoot fireworks for beginners, professional photographer net to share some of their own experience of shooting fireworks. Let’s take a look at what a photographer needs to pay attention to when shooting fireworks:

1、Shooting location:

Once the fireworks show starts, it’s unlikely you’ll have a chance to find the best angles and positions. Fireworks displays are usually fleeting, though we still need to look at them on a case-by-case basis based on the actual duration of the show. Therefore, if possible, it is best to investigate the location before shooting, and then look for a relatively clean Angle without trees or telephone poles. Be aware that in a dark environment, “clutter” in the picture is difficult to see. Don’t wait until the actual shooting begins to realize that there is a silhouette “across the world” in the picture. In addition to avoiding distractions, we can also choose places where we can see landmarks or set up a background to avoid monotony.


There is no doubt that a tripod is a must-have artifact when photographing fireworks. Of course, if you don’t have a tripod or can’t get one on short notice, look around and see where your camera can be positioned smoothly, such as outdoor furniture, a fence, or the roof of your car. While these options won’t have the flexibility of a tripod, they can still be used in a pinch. If you have to use any of these devices, don’t forget that you can change the Angle of view by placing other objects under the camera, such as wallets and phones. For added stability, a wireless shutter cable allows you to press the shutter without touching the camera. Finally, since the focus is usually infinitely far away and doesn’t change much, it’s best to switch the camera to manual mode and lock the focus. What’s more, while built-in anti-shake systems are becoming more sophisticated and effective, only a few cameras, like Olympus’s recent models, are capable of stabilizing a picture over several seconds of exposure, so additional stabilizers are necessary.


Sometimes people tend to overthink how to set the exposure, but the fact is that the fireworks are bright and you don’t need to have a very high ISO or a large aperture lens to get enough light in like you do when shooting a starry night. So, let’s put the camera in manual mode and set everything up. First, you generally need to keep the ISO in the 100 to 200 range, then lower the lens aperture to f/8 as the starting point, sometimes even using a smaller aperture such as f/11 or f/16. The shutter speed can start at 1/2s or 1s, and then be fine-tuned according to the actual shooting needs and the spacing of the fireworks. However, don’t get so caught up in the fireworks that you forget about your work. One more thing to note is that if you have a camera with a flash, don’t forget to turn it off when you are shooting. Not only will the flash not help you photograph the fireworks, it will also affect the people around you who are watching the fireworks.


You need a camera, of course. If you have access to a full-frame SLR or a high-end mirrorless camera, that’s great. Otherwise, a smartphone with a manual control App can take great photos. In most cases, a zoom lens is better for shooting fireworks because it gives you the freedom to adjust your composition without changing your location, and because we usually work at the optimum aperture, both basic set and fixed lens cameras can produce good picture quality. Another advantage of using a zoom lens is that you can experiment with changing the zoom during exposure to create a shot with a bursting focus effect. Given that most cameras now have built-in anti-shake systems, it is advisable to turn them off while shooting, as they are better suited for hand-held shooting. In addition to the basic camera and pod, a small light can help adjust Settings or focus when the light is low, while extra batteries and a large memory card are essential.


It’s great fun to photograph fireworks. If you’re new to photography or just got your first interchangeable lens camera or a card machine with manual controls, shooting fireworks is a great way to familiarize yourself with your camera and practice exposure Settings. Of course, in addition to the above points, the last thing we should not forget when filming is to have fun.

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