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help with night and firework photo settings please

Discussion in 'Photography and Video' started by Jenngusto, Feb 4, 2017.

  1. Jenngusto

    Jenngusto Member

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    Hello all;)
    I leave in just over two weeks for "home" and really want to take some good pics. I have a DSLR camera and would like some lens and settings suggestions for taking good fireworks and night time pics. I see so many great pics on here and hope yall can help me out. Thank you in advance. (-: :):happy:
     
  2. mousehockey37

    mousehockey37 Well-Known Member

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    As far as fireworks, if you want the pretty ones we get, you're gonna need a tripod and shutter release. You'll have to go full manual mode. A simple google search will help with fireworks photography settings.

    Nighttime pics, you just need to make sure you have a low enough F stop, otherwise the camera is gonna shake something awful and it'll be blurred if there's not enough light.

    I'm sure some of the others will get more into it, but I pretty much googled everything and it worked, for the most part. It's a good amount of trial and error.
     
  3. WDI 1998

    WDI 1998 Active Member

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  4. thomas998

    thomas998 Well-Known Member

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    First thing to consider is what type of photos do you prefer because there are basically two different types for fireworks, the slow shutter style where you see the streaks of light from the firework exploding or the frozen in time shot that freezes the points of light where they are with minimal streaking. Which you prefer is a matter of taste, lots of people seem to like the slow shutter streaks and if you are one of those you will need a tripod or at the very least will need to find yourself a spot where you can put a jacket or something where you can set your camera with it aimed in the general direction of the fireworks. After that it really is just a bit of experimenting and luck. You know for those shots you need to stop down the lens quite a bit because you will likely have your shutter set for 1 second or longer. Also, don't use auto focus on your camera instead focus to infinity and have it set for manual focus. The trick is having the camera perfectly still. Any movement will cause the streak that would have otherwise been straight to be jiggly... Now if you prefer the frozen specks of light you just go to full manual and set the speed to 1/125 then do your f stop to probably 8 or 16, adjust as needed and make sure to shoot raw because you're likely going to tweak the photos to get the best results... Frankly if you go for the frozen specks instead of streaks I find they look best if you take multiple shots and overlay them to maximize the fireworks because a lot of the shells will be less than impressive when you just catch a fraction of a second.

    Two things to remember is that the fireworks are really bright, close to taking pictures of the sun or moon so they are easy to overexpose and will usually overexpose if you don't use manual controls for shutter and aperture... And auto focus is usually pointless because your shooting at the sky at night so your camera will have nothing to focus on so go manual and if your lucky your lens will stop at infinity (something to check before you go so you'll know if it does or not)
     
  5. BigRedDad

    BigRedDad Well-Known Member

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    Not sure what type of camera you have, but it will make a difference. It can be done with a P&S, but not as easily.

    First, you need a solid tripod for your camera. Forget anything that cost less than $100. They simply won't work. Next, you need to consider the weight of carrying around a tripod. Carbon fiber can make it lighter, but a tripod can be bulky. Next comes stability and location. You can't put a tripod up in the middle of Main Street and assume no one is going to bump into it. It is black and the lights are off. Finally, taking pictures that have great color and make great images requires "knowing the show". You need to know what bursts you want to capture, when to start taking the picture, and when to stop it. This requires studying the shows, timing them correctly, and using a remote shutter. As said before, you have to close the F-stop a ton. Fireworks are bright. I always use F16 or higher. I never have been able to get great shots and simply do not have the time on vacations to spend trying.

    It takes time, a lot of patience, and many trips to get great at it. I wish you the best on this trip.
     
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  6. drizgirl

    drizgirl Well-Known Member

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    For fireworks:

    1) Use a tripod (I personaly think even an inexpensive one can get the job done. They just tend to be bulkier and heavier).
    2) low ISO (I use 100).
    3) High F-Stop (something F11 or higher).
    4) turn off image stabilization.
    5) Focus to infinity then step back just a smidge off of that spot. Change to manual exposure
    6) Remote shutter release.
    7) Bulb mode so you can choose your shutter speed with the remote. I generally find 5-7 seconds works well for these settings.

    This really isn't as hard as it sounds. But this is how people get great shots.

    I recommend leaving your tripod in a locker until you need it at night.

    Other night pictures will require a different approach if you don't want to cart your tripod all over and use it for these shots. If you want to go handheld, you'll have to turn up the ISO. Experiment ahead of time with how high you can go with the ISO and still be happy with image quality. Be sure image stabilization is turned on if you have it. This is where it's great to have a fast lens (something 1.4 or 2.8 is great).
     
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  7. NowInc

    NowInc Well-Known Member

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    Keep in mind that most will not recommend a cheap tripod..for two reasons:
    1.) The heavier, the more steady it will be. The light cheap ones will move with any slight wind or passerby, resulting in a blurry shot.
    2.) You spent a lot of money on a camera, its unwise to trust it on top of a $75 tripod. It can fall over easily and do permanent damage to your gear.

    A GOOD tripod will last you forever.
     
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  8. drizgirl

    drizgirl Well-Known Member

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    No doubt. I will take a good tripod over a bad tripod any day of the week. But a bad tripod is better than none (as long as you take precautions with your camera).

    That said, if I felt it was unstable, I would never take my hands off the camera. I generally keep it on a strap around my neck while it's standing there.

    I used a $35 tripod from Sears for many years and it was incredibly stable. Just a little bulkier than I prefer. I now have a nicer one (it was around $150). It's not as stable as my old Sears tripod, but I chose it for how easy it is to take with me to the parks.

    I'm just saying not everyone can afford a $300 or $500 tripod. And they can still get some great shots with a less expensive one.
     
  9. NowInc

    NowInc Well-Known Member

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    As many can attest, you'll buy your first tripod (usually a more affordable one), use it for a bit, then upgrade to a slightly better one...and the old one will sit in your closest. Then you will upgrade again, etc etc. Its something we all have done..but in the end the investment of a better tripod is always a good idea. We all have done it.

    I understand its not affordable, but (and I honestly don't mean to sound snobby by saying this), no one ever said "Take up photography, its an affordable hobby". I DON'T suggest going for a $300 model, but there are many in the $150 range (the one I personally use is around $200...and has lasted me going on 4 years now) that will treat the shooter awesome and earn their value over a short time.
     
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  10. drizgirl

    drizgirl Well-Known Member

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    I used that $35 one for quite a while. But admittedly, I'm not a frequent tripod user so always found it hard to justify any additional expense. To be honest, I had no serious complaints about that one. Same thing with my current $150 model. It does exactly what I need it to. Most importantly it's easy to carry around. But everyone has different priorities.
     
  11. thomas998

    thomas998 Well-Known Member

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    If you don't plan on using the tripod beyond trying for a fireworks shot, then don't get an expensive one. As was mentioned a cheap one tends to move around a bit from even a strong wind, but you can just hang your camera bag or something heave from it so that it becomes more stable and still make do with a cheap one. Which is probably what you should do if after you get finished the tripod will just go in a closet.
     
  12. NowInc

    NowInc Well-Known Member

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    Just be sure to check the weight restrictions on that tripod (both cheap and "expensive"). Too much and the entire rig will collapse (Its not pretty).

    Another option is a gorillapod...a lot more versatile and affordable. :)
     
  13. LSUxStitch

    LSUxStitch Well-Known Member

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    I use an ND filter (3 stop) for my firework shots.

    [​IMG]Untitled by Sean S, on Flickr
    • ƒ/7.1
    • 16.0 mm
    • 25s
    • ISO 100

    Example of no ND filter
    [​IMG]Wishes from Fantasyland by Sean S, on Flickr
    • ƒ/22.0
    • 12.0 mm
    • 25s
    • 100


    Suggestions follow as others above have stated. Definitely a tripod is needed, personally, I use a MeFoto Roadtrip. Easy to pack, sort of light, and fits in a backpack.
     
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  14. Joyce.M8

    Joyce.M8 New Member

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    Absolutely agree with those who advise using a tripod not to shake your camera.
    ISO must be about 100-150.
    Aperture f/8-f/11.
    Set White Balance to Auto.
    Take pics in RAW.
    Generally, that's it. You can also look through some tips in this post - https://macphun.com/how-to/how-to-photograph-fireworks.
    Hope you'll find it useful.
    Good luck with you pics!
    Joyce
     

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