How To: Photograph Fireworks Effectively

Please donate to support the Newton Fireworks.

Photogs! Have you tried to capture 4th of July fireworks only to be disappointed? Here are 7 tips courtesy of Pholium, the digital photo book design and giving app for the iPad, with 7 do’s and don’ts to help amateur photographers take a series of sparkling photos to capture the show, just in time to capture the fireworks show in Newton.

And a plea for financial support for the Newton Fireworks show:

For the past 23 years, Newton Community Pride has sponsored the July 4th Festivities for the City of Newton. With the help of our sponsors, this celebration has been totally free to the public.

Like most non-profit organizations, Newton Community Pride is feeling the pinch of the present economic crisis. We cannot continue without your help. Having enjoyed this event for so many years, free of charge, we hope that you will help keep this tradition alive. As Newton Community Pride celebrates its 23rd Anniversary, please consider giving $23 (or any amount you choose) to help continue this fun-filled day for another 23 years!

Send a check payable to Newton Community Pride to 225 Nevada Street, Newton, MA 02460 or use your credit card to make a tax deductible donation on-line.

Yes, I want to help support the Newton Fireworks! Make an on-line donation.


p.s. A great place to view the Newton 4th of July Fireworks is on the hill near Albermarle Field and the Fessenden School.


1.       DO have the right equipment. A camera with manual controls and a tripod are crucial, with a remote shutter release being a close second.Setting the camera on manual allows you to control the focus of your pictures, and a tripod provides a stable place to rest the camera while taking shots – which also allows you to join the photo-taking fun!

2.       DON’T use the flash. A flash is not necessary for capturing fireworks displays since it’s already brighter than the light we normally photograph. Turn off your flash setting and let the natural light take control.

3.       DO use a lens that is wide enough to capture a more visible area than you think you need. You don’t want to miss the candid shots of your kids running around while the fireworks are in motion.

4.       DON’T be afraid to reposition. When the fireworks start going off, look at your preview screen and reposition your camera to frame the images the way you want. Feel free to move the tripod around and make sure the landscape is captured as you intend.

5.       DO lower your film speed. Lowering your film speed (or ISO in tech terms) reduces the opportunity for shadows, color specs and grain and makes for a clearer image. Because the fireworks you are capturing will be very bright, 100 ISO is an ideal place to start.

6.       DON’T forget to adjust the f-stop. The f-stop measures lens aperture and will show you if the fireworks photos are over or under exposed. If colored fireworks are white and not well defined, the shot is overexposed and the f-stop number needs to be increased. If the fireworks aren’t bright enough, the aperture needs to be opened by reducing the f-stop number.

7.       DO adjust your shutter speed. Because the length of each fireworks blast varies, setting your shutter speed to B instead of a pre-determined setting will allow you to control how long your camera’s shutter is open to capture blasts. The B setting allows you to keep the shutter open for as long as you press it to capture the perfect shot.

In the end, fireworks displays offer the opportunity to experiment with your camera and have fun with your photos.And, once all the images are captured, you can use Pholium to create a digital photo book that tells a story that can be shared with family and friends.


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