How to photograph fireworks, from with a professional team up with mobile

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The combination of summer and holidays makes it the perfect place to take pictures of fireworks moment, certainly a show that children and adults alike. Of course, to do, this type of photos is not easy and, in principle, is reserved for photographers with certain knowledge and a good team.

Of course this is not necessarily so. Today almost any camera can get decent pictures of fireworks, even with a mobile. Simply understand some of the possibilities of the device that we will use and a few basic tips that we will thresh below.

Some photographic theory

Technically, take pictures of fireworks does not have much mystery: it is about making a long exposure; i.e. use a slow shutter speed. For the uninitiated, this may sound like Chinese, but the translation is simple. In photography a simile easy for anyone to understand and is used to take a picture is like filling a bucket of water. If we open, the tap much took little time; if we open it took little more.

Photograph fireworks

Image Source: Google Image

Well, in photography, the water is changed by light, faucet by the diaphragm and the time it takes is the shutter speed (or exposure time). Therefore, to take a picture we need a lot of light coming through the diaphragm. This may be more or less open and that determines who need more or less time to achieve the photo.

Usual in photography is that the shutter speed is measured in fractions of a second (1/60 or 1/125 would be very common values) and with that usually sufficient when there is enough light. High speeds (1/250 to 1 / 4,000 or more) are those that involve movement freezing, because the camera makes the photo at such a rapid rate that does not give time to move anything.

Of course, when there is little light it is often necessary to shoot at slow speeds (can be from less than a second to minutes or even hours). This implies that photography is likely to move out, either because they reflect what has movement itself, for which we produce ourselves with camera shake in our hands. For this reason tripods and remote triggers, which are used ensure that there will be movement-spoiling decision (unless this is what precisely sought).

This circumstance is also required photograph of fireworks, because although we may seem a very bright object often occur in very low light environments. In addition, most spectacular fireworks photos are those that do not show only a “flash” (like the one you have placed just above), but that referral a lot of them in a kind of mosaic of light and color.

General tips have the equipment you have

How to make these kinds of pictures so let’s summarize the main concepts used for any type of user to the computer with:

  1. The camera does not move. I guess you will have already become clear that when photographing fireworks must have the camera capturing the image along time, which means that there is a serious danger that blur. So the first tip, and essential, is to find a good support, whatever it is. Ideally, a tripod but it would put the camera on a backpack, poyete, a bin or any other place to remain very still.
  2. Use a remote shutter. One of the things that can make a picture out trepidation is precisely the movement we do when pressing the shutter, so the following recommendation is to use something to prevent this gesture. The ideal is a remote shutter, either the typical cable connected to the camera or a wireless controller (would an app control via WiFi) but also applies a remedy much home: using the self – timer to take the picture two seconds (or more, depending on the camera) after pressing the shutter button.
  3. Looking for a good shot. Before you start shooting we should have thought about what exactly we want to get in the picture: If you only want, the very fires are or if we want the landscape, in which it will develop to appear the show or other elements, (the water reflections tend to be great). The first may be fine, but the second we would probably provide more spectacular photos if the site is worth. It is best to make a decision from a place far enough away to have the maximum field of view. By the way, should not be excluded the option of taking other elements in the frame as the people attending the show.
  4. Disables the flash and stabilizer. If shooting in automatic with a “just average” (or mobile) camera device probably you want to fire the flash at the low prevailing light. Well, if you did not know, the flash is a very bright light but has little scope (beyond a few meters is useless) with what other measures necessary for this type of photos is off. On the other hand, one must know that when the camera is still on a site the action of the stabilizer is usually counterproductive, so it’s best to disable also before starting (it will only be useful if you do freehand shots).
  5. Make the photos at full quality. Uses the camera you use enter the setup menu and choose the larger size and maximum sharpness you allow the device so that the result is the best possible. In case you use an SLR or an advanced camera of course uses the RAW format, which stores all the information it collects the sensor and allows you to further processing.
  6. Take the photos are free. So shoot, shoot and shoot … Although it is relatively easy to make, to get a good picture of the first is complicated so the best advice is to insist, try different frames and camera settings and do all the photos you can.

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Tips for those with an SLR / Advanced Camera

If this is your case you probably already be familiar with the basics of photography that we’ve told you in the beginning and how the work triangle aperture, shutter speed and ISO (for the uninitiated, another factor that influences the light needed for a Photo). For you, here are other basic (but essential) tips to make fireworks photos:

  1. Sets the sensitivity to minimum. Although a high ISO is usually used for low-light shots, the union of higher long exposure sensitivity is what usually brings noise. As in this case the camera will be stabilized, there is no problem in using the ISO lower than having the camera to prevent noise and maximum quality.
  2. Put the focus in manual mode. Since the fires are quite fleeting, auto focus can be problematic so it is best to focus on manual basically infinite, and not touch throughout the session (unless you want to make some kind of special effect).
  3. Closes the diaphragm. As with the ISO, being the camera still we can afford to close the diaphragm to ensure two things: achieving more quality (optical usually offer their best performance around f / 8) and get more depth of field in the shot, we will be good especially if you have framed the landscape in addition to the fires themselves.
  4. Play with different exposure times. Without doubt this is the key point in this type of shooting and it is difficult to say a priori. Since it depends on the lighting of the scene, once we have determined the sensitivity and aperture you’ll use will have to play with different values shutter and go see the results. As mentioned, if we use a relatively fast speed (such as 1/25) maybe we catch only a flash, while a longer time (e.g. five seconds) will capture that beautiful “palm tree effect” that often produce fireworks. And if we increase exposure to 20 seconds we can capture several fires followed. Any of the three options can be good, but usually the longer the better.
  5. Try as the B mode. If your camera has shooting option B (Bulb), is the time to experiment with it. This mode is the camera starts taking a picture and stays there until you do not indicate otherwise, which may be minutes or even hours (or until the battery endurance). Typically, start by pressing the trigger and just to do it again, although there are cameras in there to hold it throughout the process. As this may mean that more light is needed for the picture (and this also serves to exhibit several seconds) captures a homemade trick but very effective is to use a black cardboard to cover the lens and not receive light the interval between flashes different (but putting it would cover can cause us to move the camera).

Advice for anyone who has an “only average” camera

If your camera is of the heap (as it were), it is very likely not have access to control options of shooting with everything the previous point will not do any good. Still not despair because you can yes you can do this kind of snapshots using the specific mode of shooting fireworks.

It is quite usual in the compact and serves to make this kind of shots automatically. That is, transparently to the user closes the diaphragm device adjusts the ISO to a minimum and makes a long exposure. Of course to do it all automatically lose the power to modify the parameters so that the result will be quite random and nothing controllable.

By the way, you also have to know that the fireworks mode is not the same as the photo mode night they usually have many cameras. The latter is intended for long exposures but with a more or less constant light. If hired to photograph fireworks, because the light is changing, it is possible that the camera exposure ends when the first flash is finished.

What if I want to use the phone?

Although it may seem that the chances are reduced, on the contrary take pictures of fireworks with mobile may be more feasible than using a simple compact since there are two possibilities here. The first is the same as we have told, use the specific mode of shooting fireworks including mobile (which can be called in different ways depending on the manufacturer). The second is to use apps that allow us the manual trigger control to apply all the advice I have been explaining over long and other exposures.

Although most specific applications are dedicated to photo retouching photos later, there are options to control shots manually. Thanks to them we have in our hand to choose the ISO and shutter speed, no longer the diaphragm because the phones do not have a diaphragm that opens and closes as the cameras.

Furthermore, remember that a shot freehand may serve in some cases, but still highly recommended immobilize the terminal somehow either with a stick selfie strategically subject to something or tripod type Gorilla Pro or similar.

So no, if you want to be prepared for the holidays to get caught go about looking for ways to stabilize the camera (or mobile) that you are going to use. Also, if you have a good camera but little idea you get to cram a bit and get ready for practice.

If you have a compact will have to do some research to see if it gives you manual control mode or have fireworks. More or less the same as if you are using your mobile: look to see what possibilities are yours and if they are limited thinks settle an app that allows you. You get lucky (which probably going to need) and do not forget to enjoy the show.

Written by Alex

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