How to Photograph Fireworks

It’s that festive time of year – normally anyway, where there are fireworks displays going on and you want to capture that perfect image.

I’m not one for watching long YouTube tutorials or reading drawn out methods so here’s some of my quick tips on getting started photographing fireworks.

There are different theories on the best settings to use for fireworks but it’s worth having a play around. As you will see in the 3 examples I have given, they vary in shutter speed from 4 sec right up to 30. Depending on how dark it is, I personally find it easier to shoot longer exposure as you get more fireworks in the shot. We usually know when fireworks are going to happen so it’s best to set up the tripod, set your camera and just keep shooting :

  • A really important thing as with any type of photo is to get your composition (aka vantage point) right and this is something you can plan ahead of time. Fireworks need to be the hero, but try and include as part of an interesting landscape theme
  • Always use a tripod as shutter speeds will always be slow with fireworks being at night
  • I find the optimal aperture around f/10
  • You will find that the longer the shutter speed, you will get the trails of the fireworks
  • On shutter speed, when I am shooting on a slow shutter speed, I usually use a remote release, or if you don’t have one, set the 2 second timer so that you eliminate any shake when pressing the shutter release button
  • Using a low ISO will reduce noise reduction
  • Never ever use a flash
  • I set the focus at infinity


Pic Settings
ISO 200
8 sec

Pic Settings

ISO 1000
4 sec

Pic Settings
ISO 50
30 sec

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