A Frederick Fourth

Molly Stark - Molly Eire Photography

I hope all of my fellow Americans enjoyed their Fourth of July holiday! This was our first fourth here in Maryland, and while we could have gone down to the National Mall, or Mount Vernon, or Annapolis, or just face it, pretty much anywhere, we chose to stay close to home and take in the Frederick fireworks!

Let me just say. I’ve done firework photos before. The difference is, the last time I did them, I was holding my Canon T3 in my hand, with over 100 shutter speed. Now, some turned out alright (I think I have some old photos of them somewhere, but let’s face it…..they’re not that great), but this year, I made sure to look up the best ways to take photos of them. My Canon T3 didn’t have wireless shutter remote capabilities. I didn’t own a tripod at the time, and I knew very little about fireworks. This year, I was prepared with a tripod, wireless shutter remote for my T6, and a good idea of what settings I needed to use in camera. I was able to enjoy the show while pressing one little button and letting the camera do the rest! Since I didn’t really know where they were going to be shot off from, I wound up getting close-ups, since I didn’t realize we were going to be that friggin’ close!

So, for you, if you do not know what to do with regard to taking photos of fireworks, here are a few tips.

  1. Use a tripod. Seriously. If you don’t have a tripod, trying to brace your camera on something not moving. Holding it will cause shake, and when you have slow shutter speed, it’ll pick it up.

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2. Wireless shutter remote (if possible): It’s really helpful. If you don’t have one, you can still just press the button on the camera itself, but again, watch out for any potential camera shake.

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3. Low ISO: You don’t need any ISO. I had mine set at 100, the lowest it could go. Because you’ll have a slow shutter speed, your camera will be taking in more light. Trust me. Low ISO.

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4. Aperture. You want the number to be higher. You don’t want f/2. You want closer to f/15. I used f/16 and the shots I think look great. Higher number on the aperture. The lower you have that number, the more light you let in, which can lead to blow outs and some blurring.

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5. Slow shutter. This can vary a little bit. I guess it depends partly on just how fast things are happening. I had mine at 2.5 seconds, moved up to 2 seconds for a couple minutes, went back to 2.5. But to capture the trailing of the fireworks, you want slow shutter speed. And because your ISO will be low and aperture number will be high, you’ll get the right amount of light and focus!

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6. Don’t forget to enjoy the show. Don’t watch the entire show through your viewfinder or stare at the back of your camera. Your camera isn’t the only thing present. You are as well. Take in the experience and revel in it, while pushing a button once in awhile. Also, if you have kids, get their reaction! Our kids were sleeping and being watched by grandma because they’re still pretty young, but getting their faces in the future is definitely on the bucket list, and will only add to your memories!

©Molly Eire Photography

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