4 Tips for Taking Firework Photos

This past weekend was a fantastic one around here. The 4th of July holiday was much needed. Hopefully you and your friends and family were able to squeeze some time in celebrating the 4th. Ours was filled with swimming, a hike, diving, picnics outside and fireworks. With all of the preparation that went into the weekend, I failed in one area – read up on how to take quality firework photos with my camera phone. I’ve never been able to do it. The timing and steady hand have eluded me in the past and I should have collected some phone photo pic tips before the long weekend.

Fireworks Photo

I’m not 100% sure when the next fireworks-filled event is (New Years?), but I want to be prepared. So I clicked around the internet and collected what seems to be the most universally acknowledged “best practices” for taking quality images of fireworks at night. In no particular order, here are the top four tips:

Turn Off the Flash

Basically the light from your phone’s flash reaches out only a few feet. Certainly not all the way into the sky. But your phone auto-activates because you’re standing in the dark. So the pros recommend turning it off to get the best auto-color settings, etc. from your phone. The camera doesn’t need to be expecting to get back a flash-filled image when in fact all it’s going to see is a colored lights in the sky.

Buy a Tripod

While this would not have helped us much during the show we attended (we were on a boat), I get what everyone is saying. Fireworks happen fast and every little shimmy and shake will show even with the biggest glow. I’ll be sure to have a small tripod with me for the next event. Now I just have to research what makes a good tripod…

Fireworks Photo

Play with Slo-Mo, Filters, Time-Lapse, Panorama, Square, etc.

These are two new software features that most phone software has. I can see the appeal and fun of it. It was fun taking slo-mo video of the kids diving and cannonballing into the water. But I’m just not sure I have the patience to start toggling all the settings. When I’m out with friends, I like to enjoy the sights and chatter. Not looking down at my phone the whole time. That being said – I will try these each a couple of times just to see if I am missing out on something really cool. I mean, what are the chances a bunch of people on the internet are wrong about this?


My best tip, from this past weekend…

For the fourth and final tip, I offer one born out of experience from this past weekend. Take lots of pics. Look for something called Burst Mode. On my phone, I can hold down the button and it will start taking a photo every split-second. It’s really kind of amazing. Basically, I’d wait to hear the boom of the rocket launch and then hold down the button. It’d start racking up images. Once the firework popped and faded I’d let go. Each set like this had 30-40 images in it. I could then quickly delete all but the one or two images I wanted to keep. It worked great.

How about you? How was your 4th of July?

Any great tips I missed? Or better yet, any apps I should consider to help me out on night like these?

Any and all of your advice would be greatly appreciated. I’m tired of all my fireworks photography fails.