This year’s Fourth of July fireworks photos will make you say ooh and ahh, instead of ugh.
Taking photos at night is always a challenge. With the dark night sky and bright lights, the setting when watching Fourth of July fireworks is challenging for even the most experienced photographer. In the past, only people with a DSLR camera and tripod could get good results taking pictures during the Fourth of July.
But with the amazing features of your iPhone, you can now get great results in all kinds of challenging settings, including bright lights in a dark sky. And if you get creative, you’ll capture some interesting and memorable photos.
Here are 7 tips for taking pictures of fireworks on your iPhone:
1 - Turn off the Flash
If you have your flash set on auto, it will likely go off in this low-light situation. Since your flash only reaches 5-10 feet, it is of no use when taking pictures of fireworks.
To turn off the flash, open your Camera App, select the lightening bolt in the upper left corner, and select “off”.
2 - Reduce and Lock Exposure
Your iPhone has a feature that allows you to adjust and lock the exposure, and when taking pictures of fireworks, it’s the perfect time to use it.
Here’s how you adjust and lock exposure:
- Open your iPhone Camera App.
- Wait until you see some fireworks and touch your screen. You’ll see a yellow box appear.
- Swipe down on the sun icon to reduce the exposure, until you are happy with the results.
- Hold down on the yellow box until you see AE/AF lock appear.
- Your exposure will be locked until you touch the screen to refocus or close down the Camera App.
Practice adjusting and locking exposure before the fireworks start!
3 - Keep Steady
When taking photos at night, the shutter speed will be slowed down, and you’re more likely to get blurring from shaking. It’s important that you keep your iPhone as steady as possible.
If you don’t have a tripod, steady your iPhone by leaning it against something or resting your arm against something nearby.
With a tripod, you’ll be able to keep your iPhone steady as you capture the shot. I have the GorillaPod by Joby $20 for my iPhone. You can get it on Amazon or many local retailers.
Bonus tip: You can use the volume button on your iPhone headphones to activate the shutter. This is a handy way to reduce motion.
4 - Use Burst Mode
Your iPhone camera also has burst mode, which takes a rapid succession of photos. It’s a great way to capture action shots, and increases your odds of capturing the perfect firework shot.
To take a photo in Burst Mode:
- Press and hold down the shutter.
- You’ll see a counter appear to show you how many pictures you’re taking.
- Go to your Bursts Album in the Photos Apps to see the photos taken using Burst Mode.
- Use “Select..” in the bottom center to page through the photos included in the burst, selecting the ones you’d like to keep. Make sure to discard the rest to save space on your iPhone.
5 - Take Video
Play around with video! I like to do this especially during the finale. It’s a great way to capture the action and enjoy the fireworks show later, especially if someone missed the event.
- Capture the best still shot of the firework video by replaying the video and taking a screen shot (press sleep/wake on upper left side and the home button at the same time).
- Take a video using slo-mo to create a dramatic effect when the video is replayed.
- Experiment with time-lapse video to speed up the action. You’ll be able to replay the show in just a few seconds.
- Remember that when you take a video in slo-mo or time-lapse, you can’t watch it in regular speed
6 - Use a Slow Shutter App
Using a slow shutter app like Slow Shutter Cam, $0.99 (on sale) will create interesting long exposure light trail effects.
It also has settings for low light, which increases the shutter speed, allowing you to fine-tune the result even further. And with the Motion Blur feature, you can create interesting images that suggest motion.
The app goes on sale before the Fourth of July, so it’s the perfect time to try it. You’ll find many uses to make your photos more interesting all year round.
Bonus Tip: Download the app ahead of time and play around to get used to it.
7 - Edit Photos
Zoom and crop after you’ve taken the picture if you didn’t get quite close enough to the action. You can also apply filters to amp up your colors.
Simply open your picture in the Photos App, using the built in tools to adjust the size, crop, and add filters.
Using these quick and easy tips, you’re sure to improve your photos, even those you take in challenging situations like Fourth of July fireworks! And best of all, most of them use the built-in features of your iPhone.
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