Tutorial Photography Guide: Fireworks

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#1
MWHCVT submitted a new resource:

Photography Guide: Fireworks - Photography Guide: Fireworks

Photography Guide: Fireworks


This guide will aim to help you in photographing the man made wonder that is the firework, there will be very few of us out there that have not at some point in our childhood uttered in amazement ooooohh or aaarrrrhhh or gazed in wonderment at a firework display, now is your chance to try and bring some of that magic into a photograph..


Photographing fireworks must be one of the most infuriating subjects to try and capture, you can never be totally sure...
Read more about this resource...
 
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#2
Excellent write up there Matt, thanks for taking the time to do this.

One question though.

You set the camera to bulb, have the card over the front a firework goes up you take the card away for the 8 10 12 seconds or what ever then you place the card back in fron t of the lens?


Then I take it you press the button to release the shutter and start again by opening the shutter in bulb mode and again putting the card in front of the lens??

Sounds silly questions I know

spike
 
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#3
SpikeK6 said:
Excellent write up there Matt, thanks for taking the time to do this.

One question though.

You set the camera to bulb, have the card over the front a firework goes up you take the card away for the 8 10 12 seconds or what ever then you place the card back in fron t of the lens?

Then I take it you press the button to release the shutter and start again by opening the shutter in bulb mode and again putting the card in front of the lens??

Sounds silly questions I know

spike
Thanks Spike (y) I only really use the card basically if the fireworks are a but sparse so say use fire the camera for the first firework, that lasts 3 seconds, then there is a 5 second gap to the next firework that again last 3 seconds and another gap for 5 seconds to the final firework that last 5 seconds that would be an exposure of 21 seconds but if you raise the black card for the gaps that brings the capture time down to 11 seconds, does that clarify it a little for you??

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#4
Thanks Matt.

Would what you said give you three fireworks in one frame though??? as you are using the same shutter time of 21 seconds.

I see what your saying now just thought about it, if you wanted 3 fireworks in one shot use the method above but if you only wanted 1 firework in the frame you would use the bulb for the set time then press the button and start again??
 
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Cheers for the tips Matt.

Not sure I'm going to get out to any displays but I may buy a few now just to have a go.

Anyone tried tying wire wool to a rocket? :)
 
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#6
SpikeK6 said:
Thanks Matt.

Would what you said give you three fireworks in one frame though??? as you are using the same shutter time of 21 seconds.

I see what your saying now just thought about it, if you wanted 3 fireworks in one shot use the method above but if you only wanted 1 firework in the frame you would use the bulb for the set time then press the button and start again??
It should do (y) in the above example it would still be a 21 second exposure but you would only be physically be exposing for 11 seconds (y)

braveboy2012 said:
Cheers for the tips Matt.

Not sure I'm going to get out to any displays but I may buy a few now just to have a go.

Anyone tried tying wire wool to a rocket? :)
Glad you've found it useful if you check out my signature there is a map with displays showing via a google map (y) I'm not sure that wire wool would yeald much of a result as a rocket already kicks out sparks so I doubt that wire wool would anything :thinking:
 
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#7
Interesting read! Just hope it doesn't rain tonight! The black card idea is brilliant, always wondered how to fit several fireworks on 1 shot without over exposing!
 
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#8
Psyence33 said:
Interesting read! Just hope it doesn't rain tonight! The black card idea is brilliant, always wondered how to fit several fireworks on 1 shot without over exposing!
Hope you have fun (y)
 
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#10
Dexy101 said:
My best settings were as follows

@24mm

1 second
f/4.0
ISO 100

On bulb mode.
That's a very nice photo (y) it must have been a great display to capture all that action in just 1 second (y) and it perfectly illustrates my point about the fluidity of settings (y)
 
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#11
As above, I usually shoot short exposures of around 2-3 seconds, primarily because I can't be bothered with a tripod, so hand-holding as still as I can and the shots actually turn out surprisingly well. I'll post a few later when I'm home.
 
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As above, I usually shoot short exposures of around 2-3 seconds, primarily because I can't be bothered with a tripod, so hand-holding as still as I can and the shots actually turn out surprisingly well. I'll post a few later when I'm home.
Personally that's a route that I would never advocate as I prefer to guide people on getting achievable and repeatable result's while I'll always try and keep my guides as removed as possible it's only natural that my shooting style comes through in the guide and I feel that although I'm sure you probably get some very nice results it may not be a way that a lot, especially beginners will feel comfortable to get results from (y) look forward to seeing your results :D
 
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Personally that's a route that I would never advocate as I prefer to guide people on getting achievable and repeatable result's while I'll always try and keep my guides as removed as possible it's only natural that my shooting style comes through in the guide and I feel that although I'm sure you probably get some very nice results it may not be a way that a lot, especially beginners will feel comfortable to get results from (y) look forward to seeing your results :D
No offence intended, I wasn't criticising your guide at all, I was just saying it's possible to take shots even without a tripod. Your guide is of course probably the preferred way to good fireworks shots.
 
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#14
domino1999 said:
No offence intended, I wasn't criticising your guide at all, I was just saying it's possible to take shots even without a tripod. Your guide is of course probably the preferred way to good fireworks shots.
I wasn't taking offence (y) I still want to see some of your results : thumbs:
 
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#17
Nice work again Richard, a couple of them are spoiled a little by smoke, but that is what happens when the wind doesn't play ball, I prefer to be in a position where the smoke either is blown to a side of the fireworks, or to the rear of the fireworks...but alas that is not always possible :(
 
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Nice work again Richard, a couple of them are spoiled a little by smoke, but that is what happens when the wind doesn't play ball, I prefer to be in a position where the smoke either is blown to a side of the fireworks, or to the rear of the fireworks...but alas that is not always possible :(
Yep wind direction is a problem. Sometime it blows out from the mountains, sometimes in from the sea. It's tricky!
 
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#19
Yep wind direction is a problem. Sometime it blows out from the mountains, sometimes in from the sea. It's tricky!
As a photographer I think the only prayers I ever make are to the almighty weather gods, tonight I pray for clear skies :D
 
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#20
My first post.

Thank you for this useful guide. Tomorrow night will be my second attempt at taking pictures of fireworks at a local display. I did try last week and I managed to get three passable shot (not willing to show them as they are not up to par yet) but I'm hoping with this guide and my new wireless remote shutter, I'll be able to get some good shot.
 
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#21
My first post.

Thank you for this useful guide. Tomorrow night will be my second attempt at taking pictures of fireworks at a local display. I did try last week and I managed to get three passable shot (not willing to show them as they are not up to par yet) but I'm hoping with this guide and my new wireless remote shutter, I'll be able to get some good shot.
Welcome to the forum...I hope that you have a great and successful evening...be sure to post up some photos so I can see how you get on and if needed offer some tips on improvement
 

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#22
Just caught up on this, ta for that handy "cut out and keep" guide on fireworks photography. I hadn't tried that black cardboard idea so will do that the next time I find myself taking firework photographs.
 
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#23
Just caught up on this, ta for that handy "cut out and keep" guide on fireworks photography. I hadn't tried that black cardboard idea so will do that the next time I find myself taking firework photographs.
Not a problem Ian, truth be told you only really need that for the small displays most pro displays there is more than enough activity to not need to do that little trick (y)
 
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#24
Do you not find with the black card that it has a tendency to get bent ?

I've made a light seal out of an old large lens hood, with an old lens canvas bag affixed over one end, which I am going to try out tonight. In tests on the table its easy to fit over the lens and a snug fit too
 
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Do you not find with the black card that it has a tendency to get bent ?

I've made a light seal out of an old large lens hood, with an old lens canvas bag affixed over one end, which I am going to try out tonight. In tests on the table its easy to fit over the lens and a snug fit too
I buy a sheet of mount card and cut about a dozen smaller sheets at a time all told the cost maybe 20p a board out of one large sheet even if at the end of a display its now ruined its not an excessive cost :D
 
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#26
Well here we go. A second attempt at fireworks. Still not that happy with them but they are the best of the bunch and slight improvement over last weeks.









 
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#27
Those are really not bad first/second efforts (y) what kind of settings were you using for these? I'd have liked to have seen a little bit of space below there pier, as it feels rather squashed in at the bottom of frame...there may have even been the chance for a reflection
 
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#28
The tide was actually a long way out so there was no water below for any reflections. My main thought was to be able to get the rockets into the actual picture. I can't walk far you see so I'm limited on where I can set up.

Settings were as follows:

Shutter: Bulb (found 2 seconds to be about right) / F8.0 / ISO 200
 
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#29
The tide was actually a long way out so there was no water below for any reflections. My main thought was to be able to get the rockets into the actual picture. I can't walk far you see so I'm limited on where I can set up.

Settings were as follows:

Shutter: Bulb (found 2 seconds to be about right) / F8.0 / ISO 200
I'm not particularly good with walking myself so can sympathise, I'd have been tempted to raise the ISO a little..now what would you say was your average exposure the all look to me to be around 2-4 seconds so maybe you could have got a little more action by running the exposure a little longer

I'm not sure what your level of experience is with processing but you could likely for example merge the first and second of your posted shots into a single image (y)
 
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#30
Your correct. I narrowed it down to 2 seconds after I'd played around with 3, 4 and 5 second exposures. The latter all came out very blurred. I'll keep in mind of the ISO for the next time :)

As for photo processing software, I have Photoshop CC on this PC. I'm crap with it if I'm truthful so it's something that I really need to get my head around. I've thought about trying to mess with the photo's whilst I'm recovering from my next operation (23rd Sept) so I may just upload something then. Thanks for the advice Matthew :)
 
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Your correct. I narrowed it down to 2 seconds after I'd played around with 3, 4 and 5 second exposures. The latter all came out very blurred. I'll keep in mind of the ISO for the next time :)

As for photo processing software, I have Photoshop CC on this PC. I'm crap with it if I'm truthful so it's something that I really need to get my head around. I've thought about trying to mess with the photo's whilst I'm recovering from my next operation (23rd Sept) so I may just upload something then. Thanks for the advice Matthew :)
Can you post one of the longer exposure ones, I'd like to see what maybe the cause of the blur...was it particularly windy out? Good look with the OP :eek:
 
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Hi,

Sorry for the late reply. I've only just started to come around after my operation. Things are still a bit "weird".

Anyway I've not got any of the blurred pictures as I deleted them. I'm going to try and get some more this weekend if I can walk on the stick that far but I can't promise anything. I'll let you know :)

As for the wind, there was not any really. Certainly not where I was.
 
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Hi,

Sorry for the late reply. I've only just started to come around after my operation. Things are still a bit "weird".

Anyway I've not got any of the blurred pictures as I deleted them. I'm going to try and get some more this weekend if I can walk on the stick that far but I can't promise anything. I'll let you know :)

As for the wind, there was not any really. Certainly not where I was.
Hope all went well (y) look forward to seeing any results
 
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#35
Great article. Off the the firework championships in Plymouth next week so I'll try it out
Excellent, wouldn't mind attending that myself, if you can trying and scout a location that will give you water between you and the fireworks (y) glad you've found it useful and best of luck with you trip to the championship, I look forward to seeing your results (y)
 
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Ok no one has asked so i'll be the dumb :mooning: that does...

Do you need to use mirror lockup? Or is there no significant difference with it locked up/down?

Thanks for the tutorial though Matt, loved the light painting one too.... things to do in autumn and winter :)
 
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Ok no one has asked so i'll be the dumb :mooning: that does...

Do you need to use mirror lockup? Or is there no significant difference with it locked up/down?

Thanks for the tutorial though Matt, loved the light painting one too.... things to do in autumn and winter :)
It's not a dumb question at all and I'll endeavour to answer as fully as possible

In my experience mirror lock up is not needed and can hamper shooting if you shoot like me...

My experience is that mirror lock up only really makes a difference on tripod photos that are actually really still quite fast exposures but really anything over about 1/2 second and your camera is perfectly still for such a high percentage of the overall exposure that your just realistically not going to see the minute effect of any mirror vibration...also when shooting fireworks my preferred shooting style is to have the camera in bulb and set the exposure off exactly as the fireworks launch and let the exposure run till just the right moment, your effectively reading the fireworks and the use of mirror lock up will mean your having to lock the mirror in advance and wait for the right moment to set the exposure off, now in theory it doesn't sound too much but in practice I almost guarantee its going to cause a reduction in decent photos for no real benefit in image quality

So there's nothing stopping you using it, but in reality are you going to get any positive effect from using it and I suspect/believe the answer to that is no..hope this help

Glad you liked the tutorial, and hope that it will prove useful to you in the future
 
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#40
It's not a dumb question at all and I'll endeavour to answer as fully as possible

In my experience mirror lock up is not needed and can hamper shooting if you shoot like me...

My experience is that mirror lock up only really makes a difference on tripod photos that are actually really still quite fast exposures but really anything over about 1/2 second and your camera is perfectly still for such a high percentage of the overall exposure that your just realistically not going to see the minute effect of any mirror vibration...also when shooting fireworks my preferred shooting style is to have the camera in bulb and set the exposure off exactly as the fireworks launch and let the exposure run till just the right moment, your effectively reading the fireworks and the use of mirror lock up will mean your having to lock the mirror in advance and wait for the right moment to set the exposure off, now in theory it doesn't sound too much but in practice I almost guarantee its going to cause a reduction in decent photos for no real benefit in image quality

So there's nothing stopping you using it, but in reality are you going to get any positive effect from using it and I suspect/believe the answer to that is no..hope this help

Glad you liked the tutorial, and hope that it will prove useful to you in the future
Didn't call the question Dumb :p.... thanks for that concise answer though as I really never understood when and where you would use mirror lock up so big. :plus1: to you.
 
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