There is nothing like the grandeur of a large 4th of July fireworks show, with a rainbow of bright colors across the sky.
Unfortunately, for most amateur photographers, taking pictures of the show is an exercise in futility. Many times we end up with a photo of the back of someone's shiny bright head, with some blurry colors in the distance.
What did we do wrong?
The New York Times and PC World both have tips for taking better photos this year, whether you use a smartphone, point and shoot camera, or digital SLR.
1. Turn the flash off
The number one thing you should do when photographing fireworks, experts say, is to turn off your flash. All it will do is light up heads and tree branches in front of you. In addition, when using flash, the camera makes everything else darker.
2. Turn the stabilizer on
This reduces blurriness when hand holding a camera. Better yet....
3. Use a tripod if possible
This won't work with smartphones, but most cameras have a tripod screw adaptor on the bottom. Use it. Buy a tiny tripod (sold in camera departments for around $25) that you can carry in a purse or small bag. It is well worth it.
No tripod? Try setting the phone/camera on a fence post or garbage can to stabilize it while shooting.
4. Smartphone? 2 Apps that help
5. Never use digital zoom
Digital zoom makes night photos dark and grainy. Avoid.
6. If using tripod, take slower shots
Longer, slower shots, such as a half second long or more, will allow the fireworks to "trail." Most professional shots do this, which is how you see long trailing bursts of color. However, you need a tripod (or garbage pail, etc) to achieve this. You can't handhold a slow shot or you will just see a blur.
As always, don't waste your money.
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