Getting the perfect picture…

Treasa Giblin captures some spectacular fireworks.

If you have always wanted to capture fireworks like the photos you see in magazines and on the net, well then just have a wee read through this tutorial, dust off your camera, charge your batteries, wrap your self up and give it ago.

You’ll need to arrive early to scout for a good location and set yourself up there. 
Get your composition right…Try framing the shot by including the spectators or a landmark in the foreground, by doing so, you give a sense of place & context to the image, making it less about the fireworks themselves and more about the overall experience.


Use a tripod or set your camera on a wall or on top of a car to keep it steady which can be difficult due to using a slow shutterspeed.  And it would be best to use a remote shutter release as to not shake the camera during a slow shutterspeed.. but if you don’t own one, Use your camera timer..

Camera settings
Use MANUAL shooting mode and set the aperture (F/stop) to f/11 or F/16 to give you the huge depth of field you need. You should want to capture a couple of fireworks bursts, so your shutter speed should be set to 4 or 6 seconds. And set your ISO to 100 or 200.

If your fireworks are too bright and blown out looking (over exposed) then speed up your shutterspeed a few stops (click your control wheel a few clicks clockwise ) and vice versa, if your fireworks are too dark (under exposed) or sharp then slow your shutterspeed down a few stops (click your control wheel a few clicks anti clockwise) to brighten and show motion.. These settings can be used as a starting point but since all cameras, lenses and light conditions are different you should adjust to match your camera for your desired image. 

Set your lens to manual focus ( A wee button on the side of your lens that has AF for automatic focus & M for manual focus wrote on it ) You have to do the focusing yourself because your camera won’t be able too in the dark. Zoom all the way out to infinity to get more off the overall foreground & background in the photo. The Infinity setting paired with the small aperture ( large number e.g.. F/11 or F/16) gives the large depth of field necessary to keep the foreground & the background all in focus..And last but not least be aware of your surroundings as not to put yourself or anyone else in danger.. HAPPY SNAPPING FOLKS..

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  • By Treasa Giblin

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