What’s loud and spectacular and occurs every year at the same time in the United States? That’s right Fireworks! Ever since I was a child, I could not wait to get everything ready to view the fireworks. I still have not lost that child-like fascination with fireworks. I have photographed them ever since I was a kid, sometimes it worked other times it did not. I’m a little bit wiser and a little bit more prepared, but I thought it was a great idea to have someone share their quick tips with us on shooting fireworks.
Meet Jay Caruso of Caruso Photography. Jay has been making pictures since the days of film in the early 90’s starting with his first SLR camera, a Canon T-60. Now armed with Nikon digital equipment, Jay still enjoys shooting what he did in 1993 – portraits, events and landscapes. When he’s not shooting, he’s doing business consulting and spending time with his wife and his teenage son and daughter.
Here are Jay’s five quick tips.
1. Get a tripod or some other kind of stabilization. This is a must as these will be long exposures. The tripod is the easiest solution as it is portable and allows you to set up where you want. If you do not have access to a tripod, you can steady the camera on the roof of your car or on a railing.
2. Switch to manual focus. Your autofocus mechanism won’t work here. Switch to manual, focus to infinity and use a high aperture (f16-f22) as the increased depth will give you sharper images.
3. Use the self timer. Just because you have your camera on a tripod or stabilized in some other way, doesn’t mean it won’t move when you press the shutter button.
4. Use low ISO and long exposures. Get the ISO down to 200 (or 100 if you can). Choose exposure times between 10-30 seconds. A lot will depend upon the size of the show you are capturing. If you’re shooting the Macy’s fireworks display in NYC, then a 30 second exposure could fill the frame with way too much light. However, at a smaller show, a 10 second exposure may leave you with little in the way of bursts. You’ll have to get a few shots to find that sweet spot.
Thank you Jay for sharing your tips with us. If you would like to see more Jay’s work , please feel free to check out his work HERE.