Happy 4th of July San Diego! How to photograph Fireworks and Where are fireworks and parades in San Diego? San Diego Vacation and Destination Photographer

Hope you have plans for a lovely 4th of July!

With friends and family, treats and sparkle!

And maybe a parade….?
If you are looking for a parade or fireworks show to watch, just click HERE for tons of ideas.
I’ll be at the Big Bay Celebration – so I’ll see you there….

And hopefully you will see some fireworks!
Thought I would give you a few tips to photograph fireworks.
The number one hint is put your camera on a tripod, or rest it on a beanbag
(tip:  a bag of dried beans straight from the grocery store makes for an easy DIY  no sew beanbag)

How to photograph Fireworks with 

a Point and Shoot Camera:

  • Your camera probably has a menu option specifically for fireworks – so check out that evil instruction manual before you leave home.    Otherwise, use the Night Landscape or Mountain icons, or a landscape scene mode.
  • Turn off your flash.
  • Put camera on a tripod or beanbag
  • Listen for the sound of a shell or shells going up, and press the shutter release just before they burst.
  • To prevent camera shake from pressing the shutter release, use a remote release or be careful to press the shutter release very gently.
  • Practice beforehand so you know what to do in the dark.  (Bring a flashlight so you can see your buttons)
  • How to photograph Fireworks with a DSLR Camera:

  •  Use the right equipment: use a sturdy tripod and remote to fire the camera  and bring an extra battery as long exposures tend to use them up quickly.  Bring a flashlight to see your camera buttons in the dark
  • Set your ISO to 100 or 200 
  • Do NOT use live view if your camera has it. This will eat up your battery really fast. 
  • Set your camera on Manual mode for exposure and set your aperture to f5.6 or f8.  
  • Set your shutter speed to between two and ten seconds.  Do a test shot before the show starts and see if the sky is too dark or too bright and adjust the exposure time accordingly. As long as you’re under 30 seconds you can let the camera time the shots for you.  Or you can switch to Bulb and just open and close manually when you feel you’ve captured enough bursts in one image.
  • Focus your lens ahead of time on the area of the sky where you think the fireworks will burst, and then turn off AF- otherwise the camera will keep trying to refocus every shot and you may end up with missed images or blurry fireworks if the camera misses. 
  • Think about background (what’s behind the show) and if you want the people around and in front of you as part of the shot. In general the good viewing areas fill up sometimes 1-2 hours prior to the fireworks show. If you want a good spot with enough room for you and your tripod, go early and take a good book or something to entertain you while you wait.
  • It takes a bit of practice to time your shots when you hear the fireworks being released, so you capture a few bursts.  Do some testing to see how many bursts is just right for your taste.  Try some with more, and some with less. Having too many may overexpose the overall image, so keep that in mind.
  • Good luck!

    May the sun in his course visit no land more free, more happy, more lovely, than this our own country! ~Daniel Webster

    This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave. ~Elmer Davis

    I love my freedom. I love my America. ~Jessi Lane Adams

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