4th of July Fireworks Photography – My Hobbyist Journey

Ever since I purchased my camera, the one thing I enjoy taking pictures of the most is fireworks displays. As a hobbyist I am always learning, every single time I take out the camera. While I am far from perfect with it, I feel like I’m slowly getting better, and every time I have an opportunity to try something out I usually take it.

This is only my second time trying to take pictures of fireworks, the first time being a short 5-10 minute display for one of the local December holidays events. It was short and I only had time to get one decent photo out of it, but I loved the effects of having a long exposure of multiple fireworks going off on top of each other. Needless to say, I was hooked, and wanted more.





So this year I made sure to bring my camera and tri-pod up to the lake for Independence Day weekend, where people set off all sorts of fireworks all weekend long. While this is a good opportunity for sneaking in some amateur photography, it is also not completely ideal. My friends and I are drinkers…the all day and all weekend type… so the conditions for a good shoot are already not in my favor.


By the time it became dark enough for the fireworks to start going off, I had already forgotten that I wanted to take pictures of them. So in a mad rush I ran to my truck 4th of July Fireworks Photography at the lake and grabbed my gear and rushed out to the shoreline, quickly setting up my camera and guessing what settings I’ll need to have. They looked alright in my camera (at the time haha) but the next day I noticed I was probably shooting at a much higher ISO than I should have been. Normally I would leave the ISO at 100 and leave the shutter open for at least 10-15 seconds, but these fireworks were quite scattered so I must have thought it was a good solution since I was only really capturing 2-3 fireworks at a time.

4th of july fireworks photography
4th of July fireworks photography

I still think I had some nice shots in there even if they are kind of noisy if you blow them up. My favorite out of the bunch was the first picture at the top of the page here, where the firework bursts gave an awesome shadow of a couple sitting down at the end of the dock.  I’ll admit though, that happened out of sheer dumb luck because I didn’t even see them out there at the time.
Normally, in a perfect world, this is what I shoot fireworks in:

ISO: 100DSC_5765

White Balance: Auto

Aperture:  F16

Shutter speed: 10-15 seconds
These shots however were:

ISO: 800

White Balance: Auto

Aperture:  F16

Shutter speed: 2-4 seconds


Obviously, there’s much room for improvement.

Captain Hobbyist’s ship sails on haha