LOS ANGELES - I love fireworks shots, even though they’re a tough nut to crack, and you’ve got to be quick to get the image.
I’ll probably use my camera, as I can get superior shots, but I’m in the minority.
Most of you will want to take these photos on a smartphone, and that’s fine. You can get great results if you follow some of these tips. I’m guessing many of you might want to show off your fireworks on video, which is way easier, via Facebook Live or the Periscope app. I’ve got suggestions for both.
Let’s talk stills first:
Here are the basics: You’ll need to steady the camera, because you’re shooting in low light. I’d love you to put it on a tripod--you can get a cheap one for as little as $25 at Target and it will do the trick. If you don’t have one, get a Selfie Stick and hold it steady, or pick up on of those Gorilla Pods ($18.99 from Amazon) and try gripping your smartphone to a tree branch, or something that’s steadier than your shaky hands.
With a smartphone, you're not going to get a close up, of course, but that's OK. A big, wide shot of the night sky will look fabulous on your Facebook and Instagram pages.
You’ll want to get off “auto” mode to shoot at a slower shutter speed to capture the fireworks. Many Galaxy phones have a "low light" mode, and even a "fireworks" mode. Give them a try. For the iPhone, try downloading the app, Slow Shutter, which overrides auto and brings in a slower shutter speed. Another cool app is Litely, which lets you manually adjust the exposure.
Remember that if none of these tools sound like something you want to deal with, there’s always video!
Capturing the fireworks as they burst can be tough for a still photo, but for video, all you have to do is press the record button. Just let the camera roll once the fireworks start shooting off.
You can make still frames from your video--just be sure to adjust your camera phone settings to the highest resolution. On the iPhone and other phones, you can shoot in ultra-high 4K --which offers plenty of hi-res for any clear frame grab.
Meanwhile, what could be cooler than a live fireworks display on Facebook? Certainly many, many people will be giving this feature a try. If you haven’t tried Facebook Live, it’s pretty simple--just go to your status update, click Live, put in a headline and start broadcasting.
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Yes, you can hold your phone above to capture the fireworks, but your fans will find this shot pretty shaky. Again, try the Selfie Stick, or just placing the phone somewhere to hold it steady--like resting it against the BBQ, or some plates on the outside table.
Either way, have fun, and let me know how your fare. I’m around to answer questions about fireworks shots--just send me a tweet @jeffersongraham and drop me a line, firstname.lastname@example.org
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