Photo Tip Series – Photographing 4th of July Fireworks


Written by Nathan Wertheimer

The next Photo Tip Series I will be writing about is photographing 4th of July Fireworks. This is one day out of the year that we celebrate our independence in America. Many people love to view theses colorful fireworks in the sky and why not capture the memories through your photos.

First, check your local listings to see who has a large fireworks display. In Central Florida we have quite a few. I recommend checking one of these fireworks display at either Fireworks at the Fountain at Lake Eola Park, Kissimmee Lake Front Fireworks, Star Spangled Sanford, and Altamonte’s Red Hot & Boom – at Cranes Roost Park. Please pack your patience because of traffic and parks will be very crowded at many of these venues.

Next, check and clean your camera gear the day before attending a fireworks events. One needs to have their gear in top shape with freshly charged batteries and along with extra flash disk cards with you. These are some of the items to bring to a fireworks display such as a backpack with one SLR Camera, wide angle lens such as a 18-50mm lens or a 28-300mm lens, cable release, tripod, (3) orange cones, umbrellas/poncho, few cold bottled drinks, a snack, and a folding chair. Then your all set.

Plan to arrive early to one of these many 4th of July Fireworks displays. It is recommended to arrive 3-4 hours before the event takes place. Try to stay cool and dry before the fireworks are launched into the sky. Once at the event location plan and scope out the best area the fireworks will be launched from. Some places I have photographed from are top decks of parking garages close to the venue, a high-rise apartment building balcony, a building’s roof top, on the dock of the lake (sometimes not permitted), on the edge of the lake. The goal is to come up with a creative way to capture the fireworks. Once you find a great place camp out until the event starts. Bring someone to do while waiting around such as a tablet, book, and or a video game.

There are many articles out there on how to photograph 4th of July Fireworks displays. This is not an exact science because of many factors. These factors are the location, the amount of light the fireworks give off, the ISO setting, Shutter speed, and aperture. Here are some brief guidelines. First always have the camera on a tripod for long exposure images such as for fireworks display. Stay free and clear not to shake the tripod. One will use a cable release, which is a must to capture the long exposure photos. Place orange cones around the tripod to keep people way so they don’t knock into it. If there is a lot of wind put your backpack underneath the tripod hanging to weigh it down.

Once you’re all set-up, closer to the time of the fireworks being launch, take some test shoots. This is a trial and error type of photography. Be aware that the fireworks may put out a bunch of light. Not as bright as the daytime. Make sure you compose your field of view ahead of time. Some setting to photograph are the aperture between F8 – F16 and shutter speed will vary on the setting of blub – 1/100. Many other articles will try to get you the exact settings but this is not accurate because there are many factors. Each location is going to be different.

During the fireworks display, one may have to shift the camera to the direction of the fireworks. It will be too late to change locations. Just make the best of it. Plus, adjust both the aperture and shutter speed on the camera. Other things to look for is the wind direction because if you’re very close to the fireworks launch area they’re maybe some heavy smoke in your direction. The fireworks may look dull through the smoke.

After the fireworks is the fun part by making sure one has everything like your tripod, camera, backpack, etc. One does not want to leave anything behind. Now everyone will be walking back to your vehicle to leave and sitting in heavy traffic for a while. Just wait 1 hour to 2 hours before leaving. It is a good idea to bring a laptop with you then you can start color correcting the photos to be published on your social media accounts right away. Many people like instant action of today’s fun events.

Most people will work on post-production color correcting photos at home. It does matter how you color correcting your photos from either Photoshop, Light Room, or any other so photo touch up software. After color correction share your photos on your social media accounts. People love to view great photos of the holiday. One will need to post just a few as soon as one can. The longer you hold off to publish the photos fewer people will want to view your holiday photos.

I wish everyone happy photography to you. Thank you for reading this Photo Tip Series and check back again for some more Photography Tips Series in the near future. If you like this article, then like it on our Otownfun WordPress account. For more great events and places please check us out at .

Note: All written content and images are copy righted by either by the person and or company who wrote and photograph published for this article. Any questions please contact .


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