Framing Your Fireworks Shot

By: Danfeildman
Fireworks displays can induce a lot of feelings in people as they are not only beautiful and amazing to observe but they also are many times used to commemorate momentous occasions.

Figuring out where to aim your camera can be one of the most complicated factors in photographing fireworks. The difficulty lies in that you will typically need to aim the camera prior to the fireworks to be photographed go off. Anticipating the moment is essential. Note the following tips to get your framing right.

Know the locations included in where the fireworks will be held. Planning is vital with fireworks and arriving to the site early will provide you the chance for the best, unobstructed view possible. Remember to think of what will appear in both the foreground and background of your shots. Make sure that people's heads will not be an issue and be considerate of your impact on those around you.

Try to determine in what area the fireworks are being set up and into what area of the sky they will most likely to shot into. Check with those who are organizing or setting up for the event if possible for this information if you cannot tell yourself. Also decide on what focal lengths you might want to use and select the right lenses now as opposed to during the firework show.

Keep an eye on the horizons. Always consider if your camera is even or straight in its framing when lining up your firework shots. This will be especially critical when shooting with a wide focal length to include other background elements into your shot. When getting your camera on your tripod make sure it's level from the time you set up.

Vertical or Horizontal? - There are two main ways of framing shots in all types of photography, vertically (portrait) or horizontally (landscape). Both can work in fireworks photography but I personally find a vertical perspective is better - particularly as there is a lot of vertical motion in fireworks. Horizontal shots can work if you're going for more of a landscape shot with a wider focal length of if you're wanting to capture multiple bursts of fireworks in the one shot - but I don't tend to go there that often.

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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