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Tips and Tricks for Taking Firework Photos/Videos

Whether you’re taking pictures with a standard DSLR camera or your iPhone, there are some things to keep in mind to be able to capture the magnificent beauty that fireworks create.

A standard DSLR is the ideal way to capture the entire allure of your firework display. If you are relatively close to your display (less than 500 feet), we recommend using a wide-angle lens, but if you’re farther away from the display, a standard lens will work. DSLR cameras are also great for taking videos, which you can take screenshots of to get great pictures. Either way, be sure to use a tripod. Nothing is worse than a blurry picture or a shaky video.

If you don’t have a DSLR or another high quality camera, an iPhone will still be able to take high quality pictures and videos. When filming with your iPhone, (I can’t emphasize this enough) always film horizontally! Unless you’re posting the video to a platform optimized for vertical videos (such as Instagram TV), the vertical video or photo will not be properly sized for your computer or TV. That is why, when you film vertically, there are large black bars on the sides of the screen when the video is played on a computer. Also, taking photos in burst mode is a good way to avoid missing the perfect picture. Just like with a DSLR, you should always use some kind of tripod. You can buy one at your local electronics store or online. According to, here are some additional tips to taking good pictures of fireworks with your iPhone:

  • Turn off flash

  • Enable HDR

  • Use focus and exposure lock

  • Adjust the exposure if needed

Once you’ve figured out what kind of camera you’re using, finding the perfect location to film from should be your priority. You should go to the location of the display beforehand and figure out where you want to set up your camera. While fireworks against a black sky are colorful and typically ideal, you can choose to have buildings, trees, hillsides, etc. in the background. If that’s not your style, just find a good spot to point your camera at the sky and get some great shots. Also, be sure to get to that spot well before the show begins if there will be a lot of people there.

Once it comes time to actually filming the display, it’s important to calibrate your camera in order to get the best quality pictures possible. While using your camera in Automatic mode might work, most photography experts would recommend using manual on your camera. According to, this is how you should set your camera in order to achieve the best shot possible:

“A tried and tested method is to select Manual mode and then set an ISO of 200 (for relatively grain-free shots) and an aperture of around f/11 (when it comes to sharpness, the sweet spot of most lenses is between f/8 and f/13). All you need to think about then is shutter speed. It’s worth experimenting with different speeds, but anything between 1-4 secs should do the trick; this will ensure that the sky remains nice and dark, and that the fireworks aren’t over-exposed.”

After you’ve taken great pictures, take advantage of post-processing programs like Adobe Photoshop. In post-processing, you’ll be able to play with the brightness, contrast and anything else that could make your picture look better. To edit the videos you’ve taken, we recommend using a program like Adobe Premiere Pro or iMovie. These programs make it very easy to combine all the videos you’ve taken, add music, adjust the color, etc.

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Have a great 4th of July and be safe!

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