I hope your 4th of July holiday was good and that you had a safe, relaxing time! Ours turned out to be a little hectic, but we had a blast! We had a wedding to shoot on the 4th of July, and the bride wanted to be photographed watching fireworks. I never want to disappoint, but this is a complex shot, and, you really don’t get a whole lot of opportunities to practice it! Fortunately, there was a fireworks show near our house on July 3rd and we did get to practice. My son and his girlfriend are becoming my fabulous, go to, practice stand ins! Thank goodness we did practice, because on wedding day the fireworks were set off with no warning and we really had to scramble to get the shot. We ran to the scene, dialed in our settings from the night before, and BAM! We got it … and can’t wait to share after the bride and groom see it. Had we not been prepared, we would have missed the shot for sure!
So for those of you who want to know, here’s the parameters. First of all the camera must be on a tripod because this is a long-ish exposure. If the exposure is not long, you will not capture the fireworks exploding and/or trailing. I used a 24 – 70 f/2.8 at 24mm, down low (almost on the ground) on the tripod. We exposed for 1 second at f/9.0, ISO 2000. OCF was camera right, and fired at 1/64. You don’t need a whole lot of OCF because the fireworks are creating light, and I like a high ISO to bring in ambient light. Tell your couple to stand as still as possible, but the flash will actually freeze any movement. A couple of observations …. stay calm … you actually have more time than you think, but try to get the best fireworks shots early, because as time goes on, the scene gets obscured by smoke. Good luck and I’d love to see your outcome if you try it!