Photo by TF

For entry photographers, shooting fireworks looks is like shooting night scenes, it seems less complicated. But when it’s taken, it’s going to get messy, the effect of the photo is not as good as it should be. Here are some tips for shooting fireworks.

Getting Started with Firework Shooting

Many friends think that fireworks are a difficult subject to grasp in night, but you just master the skills for it. It is not difficult to take great firework photos!

Workers Must first Sharpen Their Tools

Like shooting night scenes, taking firework photos requires long exposures. Therefore, to take good pictures of fireworks, a solid tripod is necessary. Also, to avoid shaking when the shutter is pressed use the B shutter + Black card (explained later), we must cooperate with the use of the shutter cable. From this we can see that the recommended equipment for shooting fireworks is:

  1. Camera + long-short lens
  2. Tripod
  3. Shutter release
  4. Black card

How to use the black card will be introduced later in this article.

Photo by TF

Camera Settings

Set up a tripod and we can start setting up the camera-remember the “Exposure Triangle”? Let’s start with the aperture, shutter, and ISO. Settings:


As with the night scene, to get a clear and sharp image, it is recommended to use a small aperture, preferably f/8-f/16.


The shutter is one of the most important elements for shooting fireworks. To capture the moment when the fireworks burst, the shutter must be well controlled. In addition to the general semi-automatic modes such as aperture priority and shutter priority, it is recommended to use the “B shutter/T shutter” that most DSLRs also have. In this mode, you can freely control the exposure time of the camera. As long as you keep pressing the shutter release button/shutter release, the camera’s shutter will continue to open and keep the exposure, so that you can shoot the entire fireworks scene.


Like shooting night scenes, a low ISO (sensitivity) is better, because it can maintain the fineness of the photo, less noise, and better image quality.


Since the firework explosion method is instantaneous, autofocus must not catch up, so it is recommended that you use manual focus, turn the lens’s focus ring and focus to infinity (if the lens does not have a focal length ruler, you can use autofocus first and then focus (it’s very far away to adjust with manual focus). After focusing, be careful not to turn the focus ring again, otherwise, you may lose focus.

Photo by TF

Photo by TF

Black Card for Shooting Fireworks

In addition to the tripod and shutter, a piece of important equipment is the black card. Since we can’t fully grasp the time of fireworks exposure when shooting, we need the cooperation of black cards. When the fireworks have not burst, we have opened the shutter (using B shutter/T shutter), and covered the lens with a black card, so that light cannot enter the camera, as the shutter is closed, but when the fireworks burst, we immediately remove the black card for exposure. Using the same method, if we want multiple fireworks to appear on the screen, we can repeat the above steps. But keep in mind about the total exposure time, it is better not to deviate too much or too little.

Other Tricks

Of course, there are other special shooting techniques for shooting fireworks, including deliberately out of focus, pull out and so on. These advanced skills will be left to the actual fireworks show next time!

Points to note when Shooting Smoke:

  1. Earn a favorable position to shoot the entire fireworks show before the fireworks show; if there is a crowd in front, you may wish to shoot people watching the fireworks as a foreground;
  2. Pay attention to the positions of several fireworks. If too many fireworks are repeated, the photos will be distorted, but they will not look good;
  3. Focal length selection-telephoto or wide-angle is also available, there are no restrictions, just look at the environment at the time, it is recommended to shoot at both focal lengths!

Photo by TF

How should the scene be filled with crowds? Photo by TF

Photo by TF


Author: Alex Tam