HOW TO take great pictures of fireworks with your smartphone


It’s not as simple as shoot and click when you’re taking photos of bright lights at night. On July 4, you can expect hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of photos to be shared across Instagram, Flickr, Facebook et al. (Currently there are more than 1.7 million #fireworks photos on Instagram.) Here’s how to take and share great fireworks photos:

Macy's 4th of July fireworks 2010, New York City

TIP 1: Use stop action or slow shutter for best results

iPhoneographer and public relations consultant Kevin Duggan (@prblog) says:

Don’t forget that a mogofoto app is a must. These apps allow you to swipe back to shots from MOments aGO. When you’re dealing with an unpredictable subject, like fireworks, you need to be quick!

TIP 2: Shoot fireworks in video mode

Corporate storyteller Mike Brice (@mikebrice) says shooting video will allow you to grab a great image. But, you need to use a video frame app, like VideoPix on iOS or AndroVid on Android,  for it to work.

TIP 3: It’s all about the editing.

More from Duggan, he recommends Camera+ for post production on iOS. It allows you to tweak all aspects of the photo, like bringing out the vibrant colors of the fireworks. If you’re on an Android device, try HDR Camera.

TIP 4: Use a tripod or another way to stabilize your phone

A tripod will stabilize your phone allowing you to get the best pictures possible because you can focus on the photo. You don’t need to buy anything expensive, you can also hack together anything that will keep your phone from moving and your subject in focus.

TIP 5: The iPhone 5 it has low light sensitivity, you need a third party app

Photographer Marty Yawnick recommends the following apps:

TIP 6: Turn off your flash

If you’re not a professional photographer, you may not know to turn your flash off when shooting lights at night. Trust us and turn off the flash.

TIP 7: Do not use your zoom feature. At. All.

Yawnick says, “If you have to, don’t use it very much — not more than 2x. The more you zoom, the more your iPhone camera is susceptible to movement and the greater the chance your images will show blur. It’s much better to get as close as you can and then crop your images down.”

TIP 8: It’s okay to play with filters

When you’re posting on fun photo apps, like Instagram, filters are part of the culture. In fact, Twitter, Facebook and Google+ all have native filters you can use. Experiment with one that you think makes your photo more unique.

Do you have a photo tip for fireworks photos? Share in the comments.

[FEATURE PHOTO CREDIT: williamcho via photopin cc]
[ARTICLE PHOTO CREDIT: Barry Yanowitz via photopin cc]