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  1. Thread Author  Thread Author    #1  

    Default Photography gurus - Camera settings for fireworks?

    Okay, I've got a spot staked out across the Potomac from the Washington Monument with a perfect view for the fireworks tonight.
    So what settings (mode, iso, etc.) do you guys suggest for getting decent pictures of fireworks?

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  2. #2  

    Default

    I'm not a guru, but I would suggest taking a video, then taking screen shots with the video? Possibly even using slow motion video, then getting screen shots! I'm thinking it might work incredibly well! =-O

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  3. #3  

    Default Re: Photography gurus - Camera settings for fireworks?

    Usually good shots require a tripod, long exposure and a shutter release. Also try and get something else of interest in the shot besides just the fireworks. Shots of fireworks in the sky are boring, but if you have something else of interest such as people, landscape, water, etc it's much more appealing. A good shot withe a phone is tougher due to no shutter release, tripod or long exposure settings.
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  4. #4  

    Default Re: Photography gurus - Camera settings for fireworks?

    • Pick a good spot in advance: Before the fireworks even start, you should try to get yourself in a good position: staying upwind of the fireworks will keep the smokey aftermath of previous blasts from gumming up your shot.

    • Get steady: Remember, you're taking photos at night so a little bit of shakiness from slower shutter speeds can turn your photo into a blurry mess. Brace yourself against a picnic table or even sit down on the ground if possible. If you're in a crowd, get cozy with your neighbor for support.

    • Frame before you shoot: Figure out where in the sky fireworks are blowing up and position your phone in advance. You don't want to chase the shot, you want your phone to be in the right place already.

    • Use the AE/AF lock: Once your phone's in position, don't take your shot right away. On the iPhone and many Android phones tapping the screen locks in the exposure and focus for your shot. Use one firework for metering, and then take the photo of the next.

    • Don't be afraid of portrait mode: Usually we loathe portrait mode, but here's one instance where it might capture a better photo. This is not an ordinary snapshot. Depending on the scenery and your perspective, both landscape and portrait photos might work well—heck even experiment with crooked angles to see what gets the best results.

    • Don't zoom: We realize that the fireworks are SO FAR AWAY but the digital zoom on camera phones is only an illusion. Don't use it. You can always crop the photo later.

    • Keep it native: Speaking of later, third-party apps introduce additional lag to your phone's camera. Keep your timing sharp by using your built-in camera app, and upload it to Instagram later
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  5. Thread Author  Thread Author    #5  

    Default

    Thanks for the inputs. After trying in vain forbade couple of minutes to grab a decent image, I just put the thing down and enjoyed the show with the kids. Which was awesome by the way!

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  6. #6  

    Default Re: Photography gurus - Camera settings for fireworks?

    i had serious issues trying to get video and pictures of fireworks at night.. or anything for that matter in low light. The problem is the autofocus, i had the phone propped up on a table for the firework show so it wouldnt be moving around... and no matter what i did, it wouldnt keep the focal point where the fireworks were going off. If there was any lag at all between bursts, it would refocus somewhere else, and not refocus on the show it self... i only first noticed this problem with fireworks, but quickly realized it happens when trying to shoot anything in low light situations and has been driving me crazy... does anyone have any clue on how to stop the autofocus from being a huge pain in low light situations?
  7. Thread Author  Thread Author    #7  

    Default Re: Photography gurus - Camera settings for fireworks?

    Quote Originally Posted by slinkeril View Post
    i had serious issues trying to get video and pictures of fireworks at night.. or anything for that matter in low light. The problem is the autofocus, i had the phone propped up on a table for the firework show so it wouldnt be moving around... and no matter what i did, it would keep the focal point where the fireworks were going off. If there was any lag at all between bursts, it would refocus somewhere else, and not refocus on the show it self... i only first noticed this problem with fireworks, but quickly realized it happens when trying to shoot anything in low light situations and has been driving me crazy... does anyone have any clue on how to stop the autofocus from being a huge pain in low light situations?
    I had the exact same problem. I took a couple of ~1 minute videos and several pictures. The pictures were mostly blurry, like I half-expected seeing as I didn't have anything to stabilize the phone while I took them. The videos were fairly decent, but like you said, it really struggled to maintain focus. I wish I knew of a setting that would allow you to fix focus while recording video. When I played them back frame by frame and tried to capture still images, the resolution of the pictures was very poor - blotchy and pixellated.
    I will say I was impressed by the audio - it captured the bass and reverberation of the explosions quite well and sounded pretty good on decent headphones.

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