While the parties, outfits and tasty treats of Halloween offer a host of photo opportunities; the real camera spectacular comes just a few days later when Bonfire Night lands. The pop, bangs and splutters of fireworks look fantastic on canvas, so we’ve put together a three step guide to help you capture images of fountains and rockets that are worthy of turning into personalised canvas prints for your wall.
There are far fewer public fireworks displays around these days, which means bustling events have become even busier. While you don’t necessarily want to be at the front of the pack you will need a good spot, so arrive early to set up. You will need a tripod to be able to take clear images and you may also benefit from a bit of height if there’s a crowd, so consider taking a stool along too. Alongside the usual spare batteries and memory card we recommend you also pack a torch or headlight to help you find your extras should you need them and of course, lots of things to keep you warm too.
The main challenge of firework photography is capturing colour spread without getting a grainy image. To do this you’ll need to shoot slow and preferably using a cable release to avoid any shudder. Set an ISO of between 100 and 200 and select a small aperture. It’s worth spending time getting your settings right before the crowds arrive and the display kicks off. Find out where the fireworks will be set off and use a subject at the same range to find your settings.
One of the hardest things about snapping away on a slow shoot speed is anticipating when is going to be the best time to take the shot. Luckily, there are things that can give you cues. If you’re at a firework display that’s set to music, you should be able to use that to your advantage by timing to the crescendos that are usually used to signal a snap, crackle or pop is on its way. Of course, it’s not all about the colour trails, including a person or reflections of fireworks in water or on large buildings will add interest to your images. Thanks to the large portions of black sky there are plenty of options in post-production too. Using photoshop you’ll be able to swap in different backgrounds or even layer your firework shots so they look even better when you transfer the image to canvas.
Do you have much experience of firework photography? Do you have any tips of your own to pass on?