Paper Mill Island Fireworks | Tips for photographing Fireworks | WNY Photographer

June 15, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

It's Fireworks Season!

I like to get a few fireworks shows in around the Fourth of July. Since I have been home and visiting with my mom who likes to find fireworks every weekend, I am able to catch a few. Last weekend we caught them in Niagara Falls. We need to find a better place than smooshed between 10,000 other tourists to get a better view. Always fun to live and learn! 

This weekend we checked out a small community fireworks at Papermill Island in Phoenix, NY.  They were slow, pretty and done during the "blue hour" so we had beautiful skies as well! 

I am not an expert in the Firework Photography field but I will leave some tips if you would like to get out and capture your own fireworks!

Thanks for stopping by!

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10 Tips to Capture Fireworks! 

1. Use a tripod : You need your camera nice and steady! Your bulb will be open so any movement will create blur.

2. Use a trigger. You will set your camera to Bulb mode. That way you can start and stop your shutter at the beginning and end of each firework. You want to hold it open while the firework trails fall. That is what gives them the long waterfall looking effect.

3. Set your exposure to ISO 100-200. You do not want a lot of grain and your bulb will be open for a while to take in the light so it doesn't need to be very high. 

4. I usually set my camera between F11-F16. I prefer F14. That gives you a large depth of field with great clarity.

5. Set your focus to manual. I try to focus so that it is focusing somewhere near where the fireworks will be shot from. You don't want your camera searching for focus as you are shooting. Once you have it set, you should not need to change it. Check it after your first set to make sure you are in focus.

6. Your shutter speeds will vary but each firework will last between 5-10 seconds. You can keep it open for more than one set of firework and get more than one exposure.

7. Get creative!  You don't have to just shoot the fireworks. Find something interested in the foreground when you are scouting your location. Is there a bridge, a carnival, a pretty lake or castle! It is sometimes hard to tell how high or where the fireworks will be to frame your shot before it starts. 

8. A wide angle lens is always helpful! I shot this whole series using a 35mm because it is what I had. I had to shoot most of them in portrait to get the in the shot. Wider is generally better!

9. Wear bug spray!

10. Post processing... I always do a  little something in post, bring down the shadows, bring up the highlights, sometimes the vibrance, exposure. Whatever you have to do. I actually applied some presets in LR on these and then corrected the exposure. I also created a few FREE OVERLAYS that you can check out here! To use them just add the image to your photo in photoshop then set your blending mode to "screen". Resize as needed. 

 

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