Colourful fireworks set against the night sky are a spectacle that many of us find magical – so why not capture this sense of wonder in a photograph? As well as achieving the best settings for firework photography, it’s important to think about the other elements that make the event, and your photos, special.
Fireworks are most frequently seen on occasions such as New Year's Eve, special birthdays, weddings and festivals that are often experienced with friends or loved ones around you, so including them in the frame will help you capture the event in fun and creative ways.
In our tips below, we’ve covered this and more by answering 10 frequently asked questions, including how to select the best shutter speed for fireworks photography and how to use new ideas to get some truly unique and creative shots. Whether you are using a PowerShot camera, a mirrorless camera or a DSLR, we’ve got your fireworks photography guide covered.
It’s well worth thinking about what location will help you to take the most powerful images possible, so plan ahead and find a spot that will be free of obstructions. Check the location while there’s still daylight and find out the direction in which the wind will be blowing.
This is particularly important if there will be a bonfire close by, as it will help you to avoid smoke or embers creeping into the frame. If you plan on using a tripod, you’ll also want to set yourself up in a spot where other people are unlikely to get in the way as you shoot.
A good way to capture the atmosphere of a party is to photograph family members having fun with sparklers, using their imagination to create fun and artistic patterns with light. On the Canon Photo Companion App, you'll find a complete tutorial taking you through the best techniques and settings for light painting.
Another way to create an interesting shot is to capture the reflection of fireworks in a window, with friends or family members looking out from inside. Take a couple of test shots to make sure the people in the image are well exposed, then keep those settings for when the action unfolds. If you’re using a PowerShot camera such as the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II, or any EOS interchangeable-lens camera, make sure to capture images in RAW format, as this will give you maximum flexibility when adjusting the exposure for different parts of the image in post-processing using Canon Digital Photo Professional.
It’s difficult to know when the biggest and most colourful fireworks will explode, so it’s a good idea to set your camera to a continuous shooting mode, also known as burst mode. This will increase your chances of capturing one or two images with particularly dramatic explosions.
If your camera is on a tripod, you can use the Canon Camera Connect app to wirelessly control your camera with your phone or tablet. Alternatively, you could use a wired or wireless remote, or even your camera’s self-timer feature. All of these will enable you to trigger the exposure without touching the camera, which will help to avoid camera shake, keeping your images sharp.
If you’re using a camera handheld, use the Image Stabilizer to keep your images sharp (if your camera or lens features IS). This will help to banish any minor shake that comes from holding the camera, but be aware that it may lower your shutter speed if you shoot in Aperture mode.
If there’s a switch on your camera’s lens, you may be able to activate or deactivate Image Stabilizer here – otherwise, you can do it through your camera’s menu settings.