The stage is set for the Fourth of July! You have the perfect spot picked out to view an amazing firework show, but is your camera ready? If you are looking to capture a firework show, we have some great firework photography tips that will help!
#1. Show Up Early to Reserve Your Spot
This might be a bit of a pain, but showing up early can be crucial in claiming the perfect spot. Otherwise, you might be competing with a crowd come showtime. Try to reserve a higher spot where you won’t have to worry about a crowd standing or moving around in front of you. Be sure to consider what’s in the backdrop. Are you trying for an impressive background like a cityscape or bridge? Or just a comfortable spot where you are far enough back to capture the show yet close enough to not have obstacles in the way? I like to be about 100 meters or so away so I can capture the ground level displays as well.
#2 Choose Your Lens
I like 35 mm lens f/1.8 for great sharpness and low light capabilities, but still wide enough to capture several fireworks.
#3. Set Up a Tripod
For the best stabilization of capturing the show, you’ll want to set up a sturdy tripod. Simply holding the camera during the show will get tedious and cause blurred images in low light conditions. Using a tripod will also give you the freedom to enjoy the show through your own view instead of the camera lens! Frame the shot and use the remote shutter to just click as the show goes on. Usually just above the crowd works best.
#4. Use a Cable Release, Wireless Remote, or 2 Second Delay Option
This is a must if you want to get the absolute best shots of a firework show. When exposure times are lengthy, pressing the shutter button can cause vibrations that will affect image sharpness. If you are using a remote, make sure it triggers the shutter without causing the camera to shake. I tend to do 2-5 second exposures. It allows you to capture the full size of a single firework and multiple fireworks for a more comprehensive shot.
#5. Shoot the Highest Quality File Possible
When we say highest quality, we are talking about the NEF (Nikon Electric Format) for Niko or a RAW file! If this is not possible, no worries. Just use the highest .jpeg you can for the best possible resolution.
#6. Adjust Your ISO and Aperture
A good starting point for your ISO is at 200 and aperture at f/11. Since firework shows are pretty long, you can check back from time to time on how the exposure is turning out. Be sure to check for sharpness and detail. If your shots are coming out overexposed, close the aperture a bit. If under, open it up a bit.
#7. Use Manual Focus
With such a delicate process that you will need to make adjustments as you go, it’s best to just use manual functions, especially with your focus setting. Autofocus cannot adjust correctly in low light.
#8. HAVE FUN
Most importantly just have fun and you can make slight setting adjustments if needed to get the perfect shot with your camera and lens.
Great Places to Shoot Fireworks in Cincinnati:
- Madeira Independence Day Celebration: McDonald Commons Park @ 10pm
- Sawyer Point Summer Concerts + Fireworks: Yeatman’s Cove @ 10pm
- Milford Sparks in the Park: Riverside Ballfield @ 10pm
- Colrain Township’s 4th of July Spectacular: Drew Campbell Memorial Commons @ 10pm
- Fairfield Red, White & Kaboom: Harbin Park @ 10pm
- Baloon Glow: Coney Island Starting at 8pm. Fireworks at 10:15pm
- Taps, Tastes, and Tune: VOA Park @ 10pm
- Kings Island 4th Celebration: King’s Island @ 10pm
- Lebanon: Colonial Park @10pm
- Light Up Liberty: Princeton Pike Church of God @ dusk
- Red, Rhythm, and Boom: 6000 Mason-Montgomery Road
- Red, White, and Boom: Riverbend @ 8pm w/Fireworks following concert
- Loveland’s Independence Day Celebration: Downtown Loveland @10pm
- Red, White & Blue Ash: Summit Park @ 10pm
- Evendale’s Fourth of July Festival: Baxter Park @ 10pm
- Ault Park Fireworks: Ault Park @ 10pm
- Hamilton’s Fourth Celebration: Across from Veteran’s Park @ 10pm
- Light Up the Sky: Monroe Community Park @ dusk
- Norwood Hometown Fireworks: Shea Stadium @ 9:45pm
- Wyoming 4th Celebration: Oak Park @ 9:45pm
- Washington Park @ 10pm
- Red's Game @ 6:40 w/Firework show after the game
- Harrison Fourth of July: Harrison Community Center @ dusk
- Stricker's Grove Fourth of July w/Fireworks @ dark
Let us know where you’ll be watching from!