By Lori Mork
With the Fourth of July on the horizon, fireworks displays will be everywhere and you might want to take photos of the dazzling shows.
Most of us are baffled by complicated instructions on how to run many cameras, but here are some pointers that might help snap a few good fireworks photos.
FIREWORKS WITH A POINT-AND-SHOOT
Many point-and-shoot or compact digital cameras come with a variety of scene modes, making fireworks photography fairly easy.
Set the camera to Fireworks mode (refer to your user guide to see how to change scene modes), and your camera will use a slower shutter speed to help you capture light trails. That’s the only camera setting you need to change.
With a slow shutter speed, you’re going to need to mount your camera on a tripod, chair, the hood of your car or another solid surface.
If your camera doesn’t have a Fireworks mode, use the Night Landscape or Mountain icons, or a landscape scene mode. That will also keep the flash from being fired. If it does, most cameras will allow you to turn the flash off manually.
CAPTURING FIREWORKS WITH AN IPHONE
It’s not easy to get good fireworks photos with a phone, but these tips may help.
Don’t use the flash. Flash will ruin your photos.
An iPhone has a tap-to-focus feature that will help get better shots faster, so as soon as you see a firework, tap on the screen. The camera will begin to focus and then you can begin shooting photos.
The iPhone 6 takes pictures faster than the iPhone 5 and 5s, so learn how long it takes from the press of the shutter until the photo is complete on your version. Once you know the timing, you can hold your shutter press to take a photo when the firework is just beginning or at the fullest instead of catching the trails of smoke. It’s also a good idea to use the volume down button to take a photo instead of trying to press the on-screen button.
Use the Burst Mode on the iPhone. It will take a stream of photos back-to-back as long as you hold down the shutter.
Use a tripod. This will improve the chances of getting a good photo that isn’t blurry. If possible, having a remote trigger will also help reduce shaking for better photos.
Don’t use the zoom. It doesn’t actually zoom in. Instead, it just blows up the image you are already seeing.