Tips for How to Photograph Fireworks

by | Oct 1, 2021 | Event Photography

If you’re looking to take better photographs of fireworks, here are a few tips that can help.

Take your camera and go outside to capture the perfect fireworks display. You’ve come to the right place. If you’re willing to learn some tips and tricks, photographing fireworks will be a breeze. These colorful bursts of light and sound create a perfect environment for taking pictures. The process of photographing fireworks can be challenging even for experienced photographers. Here are some photography tips to help you capture the perfect shot.

Find the perfect camera and lenses for photographing fireworks

To shoot fireworks, you need a camera that shoots in manual mode. You’ll also need another to change the lens. So pick one of my favorites, like a DSLR for eg., the Canon 6D Mark II is a fantastic camera for low light. It’s also always good to go mirrorless, like with Sony’s a7R III.

You have two choices when taking fireworks photos. One is to use a wide-angle lens, which will show more of the background. The other is to use a telephoto lens, which will capture details of the fireworks. The choice depends on where you are located, how far away the fireworks are, and whether you want to include the background in your picture. If you want to capture a particular detail, you can use a long zoom lens, for example, a 70-200mm. 

Going out to snap some fireworks this year? Bring a wide-angle lens, a zoom lens with a wide range, or a combination of both.

Sometimes, the use of a zoom lens is required in crowded areas. It’s also easy to recompose shots, without actually moving around much. If you’re not sure what focal length to choose, go too wide. It will serve as a benefit when you have large files to work with. Tripods are incredibly important tools for firework photography. With long shutter speeds to capture the full explosion, fireworks photography requires a tripod.

Use your camera’s self-timer feature to avoid shaking it while taking photos. Any movement of the camera will be captured in the photo, so stabilization is necessary. Even pressing and releasing the shutter can cause enough shake to show up in your image.

Camera Settings for Shooting Fireworks


To take a long-exposure photo with your camera, you need to set the ISO to the lowest setting. This will help eliminate noise and will be required for most cameras.


Use a small aperture for night photography. This might sound contradictory, but fireworks are extremely bright explosions. You need to account for the exposure time you’re using and your images will be correctly exposed with a smaller aperture.

Shutter Speed

Capturing fireworks can be tricky. A 4-10 second exposure is necessary to capture the entire burst. One option is to set your camera to bulb mode.

This is done by holding the shutter button down for just as long as you’d like the burst to last. For this, it’s recommended that you use a remote shutter release to avoid shaking. It works especially well because you can open the shutter just before the explosion and release the shutter when it’s done.


You don’t need to use the flash on your camera when taking a photo of fireworks.


As you focus on the night sky, your lens will try to switch to autofocus. To ensure that you’ve focused on what you need without the camera doing it for you, turn off your autofocus and manually focus on your desired point of the frame. With the MF (manual focus), you can always turn the focus ring all the way to infinity (∞). Infinity focus is a little tricky in some lenses, so you might need to temporarily turn on auto-focus and set your focus on the moon. Just remember to reset the focus when you change the focal length.

Tips on How to Photograph Fireworks

Location, Location, Location

Shooting fireworks is a lot like shooting stars. If you want to get the best shots, you must plan ahead. Fireworks are the best shot at twilight when there’s plenty of light but not much in the way of glare. You can find the perfect spot by scouting early and looking for natural landmarks like rivers, bridges, or trees. For those who want to be upfront but are worried about being loud, or if you want to go a little further back to include people in your composition, then arriving early will give you the opportunity to set up your gear while the setting works out.

Vertical or Horizontal

You decide to take your shots as a landscape or portrait? A landscape shot can also be dramatic if there are more vertical motions in the scene. A portrait shot can also turn out well with a lot of vertical movement.

Avoid the Smoke

Take this picture carefully! The wind is blowing the smoke from the firework, so you want to be upwind from it. Take a seat and enjoy the view as you take this photo. The end result will be less hazy, which no one likes.

Vary Your Shots and Get Creative

You can take pictures from different angles, like horizontal, vertical, zoomed-in, wide, and from different perspectives. You can also take pictures of people. Don’t forget that photographing fireworks is not like science.

Don’t Forget Post-Processing

After the display is over, you can still edit your photos to make them pop. For example, you can change the tones of the sky to a deep black color or replay the saturation levels so that colors are more bold and bright. 

Fireworks are a key part of celebrations all over the world. Once you know how to photograph them, you’ll be able to capture some beautiful memories for your family and friends using the tips mentioned above.