Pix by Kamal
by Dan Feildman
Fireworks Displays are something that evoke a lot of emotion in people as they are not only beautiful and spectacular to watch but they also are often used to celebrate momentous occasions.
The choice in where to aim your camera can be one of the hardest parts of firework photography. The challenge is that you will have to anticipate where the firework will explode and aim the camera in this area. Getting your framing right is still possible with the help of a few pointers.
Photo by Stuck in Customs Scope out the location early - Planning is important with fireworks and getting to the location early in order to get a good, unobstructed position is important. Think about what is in the foreground and background of your shots and make sure you won't have people's heads bobbing up into your shots (also consider what impact you'll have on others around you also).
Take note of where fireworks are being set up and what parts of the sky they are likely to be shot into - you might also want to try to ask some of those setting up the display for a little information on what they are planning. Also consider what focal lengths you might want to use and choose appropriate lenses at this time (rather than in the middle of the show).
Watch your Horizons - One thing that you should always consider when lining up fireworks shots is whether your camera is even or straight in it's framing. This is especially important if you're going to shooting with a wide focal length and will get other background elements in your shots (ie a cityscape). Keeping horizons straight is something we covered previously on this site and is important in fireworks shots also. As you get your camera on your tripod make sure it's level right from the time you set up.
How do you choose vertical or horizontal? There are two main ways of framing shots in all types of photography, vertically (portrait) or horizontally (landscape). Although both can be used in fireworks photography, I myself find a vertical perspective is better, mostly because there is a lot of vertical motion in fireworks. Horizontal shots will work if you are aiming for more of a landscape shot with a wider focal length or if you want to capture multiple bursts of fireworks in the one shot.
Remember your framing - I find that when I photograph fireworks that I spend less time looking in my viewfinder and more looking at the sky directly. As a result it's important to remember what framing you have and to watch that segment of the sky. Doing this will also help you to anticipate the right time for a shot as you'll see the light trails of unexploded rockets shooting into the sky.
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