If there is a need to frame a firework then certainly our experience and expertise can cope with all shapes and sizes. That said most of the work that we are asked to do post November 5th is framing photographs of taken by our customers.
Photographing fireworks presents some pretty technical challenges, learning the skills and knowledge of how to capture these kinds of images successfully requires a different kind of approach to most other subjects. However, if you follow these steps carefully, you'll be sure to improve the chances of being successful on your next attempt.
So, in essence, what are you photographing? Yes, fireworks of course but really, if you bubble everything down to its simplest form, then all you are trying to do is photograph streaks of light that develop over a period of time against a black background. The fantastic thing about a black background is that it makes no impression on the film or sensor in the case of a digital camera. So be free to leave the shutter of your camera open as long as you like because the black background will still be black.
To get the best out of your camera when photographing fireworks is to set the camera to manual exposure, set the aperture to a suitable f-stop and the shutter to 'b' or bulb. Open the shutter just before the fireworks bursts and close it just after... as simple as that!
The first thing that you will need to help you capture those wonderful photographs of fireworks is a strong, sturdy tripod. If you don't have a tripod, then it is going to be a real struggle to get the desired results. To capture the perfect images, it requires patience and seriously long shutter times of several seconds, so nothing but a strong sturdy tripod will be enough for the job. Another gadget that could make the job that much easier for you is a remote shutter release, so you don't have to touch the camera at all and fiddle with the angles. In the early days, a remote shutter was a cheap piece of kit called a cable release but nowadays they are a wireless gadget that you can find on places such as Amazon.co.uk.
All of those skills and tricks and settings that you paid for during your photography journey are going to be useless when photographing fireworks and autofocus is one of them. the issue with leaving your camera to autofocus is that the lens of your camera will rapidly rotate backwards and forwards in a jolted like fashion whilst it is trying to find something to focus on in the black sky. Set the focus to manual and then focus on something in the foreground. Avoid just winding the focus ring around to the end of its run, you can even check it against a distant object if you can find one that is far enough away.
The exposure is going to be determined by the intensity of the light that comes from the firework from when it first explodes and then as it covers the dark sky. So, the only way we can get the exposure right is by looking at other successful shots in the past by other photographers as there is no way to accurately measure the light when you are taking your photographs. You should be able to find a TTL setting on your camera which, in essence, measures the light during an exposure, it also does this with a flash exposure, however in the case of taking snaps of fireworks, there is far too much contrast to give you an accurate reading.
In simple terms, the aperture you set all depends on the ISO rating (this means the sensitivity to the light) for the film or ISO rating set on your digital camera. If you were to set the aperture between f8 and f16 then the ISO rating would be 100. If you want to dip your toe in the water, then start at f11 at 100 ISO but be prepared to play with these settings as it will vary for very bright fireworks.
When it comes to the framing aspect of fireworks then oftentimes, you're going to have to plan it before you take the photographs. If you can think about what you are trying to aim for then it's going to serve you better for when you are out there with your camera at the next firework display. A wide shot that includes the foreground such as the silhouette of a building in the background or an object that is illuminated by floodlights or even the silhouettes of the crowd. This can make a fantastic piece of artwork and make for really interesting viewing.
Once you have selected your desired image then you can opt to place this in a picture frame along with some mementoes of that particular evening such as the ticket stub to the firework display that you attended. Perhaps you can get really creative with it and purchase a firework yourself and place one of the rockets inside a deeper picture frame with your chosen image in the background. You could even make a montage of all the different photographs you took that evening to make it look even more spectacular.
Let us know how you get on and be sure to send us your favourite images that you have taken.
Any good framers will be able to show you a vast range of different solutions and advise on what might be the most suitable given the work and its proposed location.
Article Posted: 28/10/2020 08:38:30