The New Year is just days away, and easily the most dazzling part of the celebrations are the fireworks to ring in 2023. For photographers around the world, these spectacular light shows are among the most awaited photo opportunities and favorite snapshots to capture. Photographing fireworks displays requires skill and patience, but with these tips from Sony Alpha ambassadors, you can shoot the best photos to mark the start of 2023.
How to Capture the Best Firework Photos
1. Set Your Camera to Manual or Shutter Priority
Most professional photographers typically shoot in Manual mode and select Bulb to manually adjust how long the shutter is open. But for amateurs or budding photographers, shooting in Shutter Priority will also do the trick. Automatic settings usually do not give the correct exposure and they might vary depending on the brightness of the fireworks. A good starting point is to have your Alpha camera set at a shutter speed of 1-2 seconds with ISO and aperture depending on various conditions. Since fireworks are very bright, you can shoot with ISO fixed between ISO 100 to 400, while an aperture between f/8 to f/16 is standard.
2. Turn off Long Exposure Noise Reduction and Image Stabilization
Image Stabilization is great for handheld photography and since you are using a tripod, you don’t need it when shooting fireworks. To ensure you are ready to shoot once the fireworks displays start, turn off your Long Exposure Noise Reduction to avoid delays and slowing down the processing time.
3. Use a Remote Shutter Release
Fireworks displays are quite unpredictable as you don’t know when and where they will go off. A remote shutter release is a must for capturing fireworks. You can also use the Camera Remote app installed on your camera and smartphone. Both will allow you to start the exposure without the need to touch the camera minimizing the movement and eliminate unnecessary shakes on the camera.
4. Pay Attention to Composition
To give your picture a good composition and a sense of where you have taken the fireworks, find something in the foreground and background of your frame: for example, the spire of the Burj Khalifa or the curving façade of the Burj Al Arab. While fireworks on a dark sky give nice colors, having other elements like a famous landmark or building give the photo more depth and meaning.
5. A Tripod is Essential
There’s no way around it; using a tripod is a must for shooting fireworks. A steady camera allows you to slow down shutter speed to fully capture the depths and vibrancies of the fireworks’ colours as they soar through the air. A slight movement in your camera during long exposures will ruin the sharp lines and will result into blurry photos.
The most important tip is to arrive early to the place you are planning to photograph the fireworks displays. Especially during New Year’s Eve, thousands of people flock to watch the fireworks. To avoid crowds and to secure the best position to capture the perfect shot, you should get to the venue before dark. Set up in a place where you anticipate fewer crowds yet gives you the best vantage point to capture your best photo of the New Year’s fireworks for 2023.