When I was little I loved looking at pictures of fireworks, waterfalls, and trailing taillights. I was always intrigued by those pictures even before I got into photography and I was giddy with delight when I learned how to take pictures like that myself. In honor of the Fourth of July, I am going to give you a few simple tips to taking beautiful fireworks pictures.

  1. Use a tripod. You will need a super slow shutter speed to get the laser beam effect when the fireworks burst.
  2. Your shutter needs to be opened when the fireworks burst, so don’t wait until you see the fireworks to press the shutter button.
  3. Pressing the shutter button with such a slow shutter speed can shake the camera and result in a less than sharp picture. Doing the following things can help you get the sharpest pictures possible.
  4. Use mirror lock up so the motion of the mirror doesn’t shake the camera. Your viewfinder will become black when the mirror is locked up, so make sure you have your camera positioned exactly where you need it to capture the fireworks.
  5. Use a remote so that pressing the shutter button doesn’t shake the camera and blur your picture
  6. You can also use the bulb shutter speed setting. Cover your lens with a piece of black cardboard or construction paper then press the shutter button. Nothing will be exposed as long as you keep the black paper over your lens. Remove the black paper as soon as you hear the fireworks launch. When the fireworks disappear, cover your lens with the black paper again and press the shutter button again to close the shutter.

That’s it! It really is very simple. Here are some beautiful examples from Lisa Harrison and Megan Moore.

Fireworks tutorial taking great photos of fireworks how to

Nikon D80, 70-300mm lens @ 165mm, ISO 100, f/16, SS 5 seconds

Learn how to take pictures of fireworks tutorial

Nikon D80, 70-300mm lens @ 165mm, ISO 100, f/16, SS 6 seconds

Fireworks tutorial taking great pictures of fireworks

Nikon D80, 70-300mm lens @ 98mm, ISO 100, f/18, SS 6 seconds

Nikon D300, 85mm 1.8 lens, ISO 200, f/14, SS 6 seconds

Fireworks tutorial How to take great pictures of fireworks

Nikon D300, 85mm 1.8 lens, ISO 200, f/14, SS 6 seconds

How to take great fireworks photos tutorial

Nikon D300, 85mm 1.8 lens, ISO 200, f/14, SS 6 seconds

How to take pictures of fireworks tutorial

Nikon D300, 85mm 1.8 lens, ISO 200, f/14, SS 6 seconds

Thanks so much, Beth!  And thanks to Megan Moore and Lisa Harrison for the use of their beautiful images!

Do you have any favorite fireworks pictures? Or are you planning to try this out? Share your images with us in the comments!!

Happy Fourth of July – stay safe!