With the American Independence day holiday right around the corner I thought it would be timely to have a quick how-to post on shooting fireworks.

In the first part of this video I share basic fireworks tips and tricks for getting great shots.  


  1. You must have a tripod or something to hold the camera steady or a few seconds. I love the Mefoto Roadtrip Tripod
  2. Use manual mode on your camera – Shutter speeds between 2 and 8 seconds, Aperture f/5.6-8.0, ISO 100-200 if you have a P&S camera use the fireworks scene setting (still need a tripod)
  3. Use a remote release device to trigger your camera- I recommend Intervalometer with multiple connections: http://amzn.to/29xNO3M or TriggerTrap
  4. Be ready!  Some of your best opportunities happen early on, as the smoke builds your shots may get hazy unless you have a breeze removing the smoke. So I suggest you start to setup before it gets dark, frame your composition and take a few test shots – use trees or light poles near the fireworks launch spot to focus on – review the photos watching for stray objects or horizon lines that might distract from the fireworks.   If you end up setting up in the dark, use the following tips – set your ISO to MAX and your shutter speed long enough to get well lit photo, we don’t care if it is grainy, we just want to get quick feedback on focus and composition.  Once you have those set then use the suggested settings in step 2 for the actual fireworks shots.
  5. Try to time your shots to start just as the rockets head up, longer shutter speeds are going to capture more of the action
  6. Experiment but don’t forget to enjoy the show some too- Click here to learn how to take Epic HANDS-FREE Fireworks Photos
  7. Finally watch out for the Grand Finale – shorten the shutter speed during that fireworks heavy period or you will end up with an overexposed image.

And your shots don’t have to be limited to fireworks of the aerial type – long shutter speeds pointed at folks with sparklers can be quite fun too.

HOW-TO: Macro shots of sparklers

Macro Sparklers Shots
Macro Sparklers Shots

HOW-TO: Shoot Fireworks Hands-Free (timelapse mode)


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 I feel lucky - a 3 minute walk from home puts me on a little secret beach access looking across Elliott Bay to Olympic Mountain views like this! I had hoped to try a longer exposure to get the clouds all smooth and wispy but a 600mm lens and a stiff breeze caused too much shake, so I just sat there, shooting, watching the sun, hoping for a moment when the clouds would light up like this! * Captured last night with the #Sony #A7RII and #Tamron #150600G2 at 500mm
 I love that light on the Northern Flicker's breast! This image has a few issues - it's getting a little noisy, I'd have love to shoot at a slightly smaller aperture to get his head in focus and that bright light around his beak is distracting but I keep coming back to that light and the soft green frame :) Also related to my recent video 80D vs the 77D - why buy an older camera? learn more http://photorec.tv/77Dvs80D Captured with the #80D and #Tamron #150600G2 Lens at ISO 2000
 #mondaymorningshare - Were you trying to impress the ladies this week like this green winged teal? Visit photorec.tv/fb to share your favorite photo from the last week and check out all the submissions! It's a great way to get your work seen! * Captured with the Sigma 150-600 C as I wrap up my comparison vs the Tamron 150-600

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    • I hope no one is using a circular polarizer after sunset and UV filters – I am against all the time – but it is good to remind folks. Thanks!

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