Fireworks Photos

What’s your favorite type of fireworks? I break them down as follows: Single (big bang), multiple, palm tree.

All three of these were created at the Phillipsburg Ole Towne Festival 2015.

Other firework photos from that night are available. I’ve photographed fireworks at this festival before but this is from a different view point. Next time I will try a different angle.

All photos © 2015 Dave Dabour

How To Take Good Fireworks Photos

Its not really as hard as you think once you get into it and think about it. The hard part is practicing it and managing the “stress” that occurs during the “shoot” since they only last a few minutes (5-10 minutes generally unless you’re fortunate).

Camera Settings – DSLR

ISO – fireworks are brighter than you think – even though it’s nighttime, set your ISO to the lowest setting. I go with 100.

Aperture – generally f8-f16 works well. f11 might be a good starting spot

Shutter Speed – (manual) Bulb and experiment with anything from 4 seconds to 30 seconds.

Tripod – a must for fireworks. If you don’t have one, get or borrow one. Otherwise try putting your camera on something sturdy like the roof of your car or a fence. But remember than you probably need to tilt your camera up somewhat unless you are going for a panoramic shot.

Shutter Release – highly recommended – either a cable type or a more fancy wireless remote control. The less shake on the camera (even though its on a tripod) the better. If you forgot it or don’t have one, then make sure your tripod is rock solid set and try and gently squeeze the shutter instead of pressing it.

Camera Settings – Point & Shoot

Many of these have function settings. If yours does try and find a fireworks setting. If you don’t have one see if you can go manual and go with the settings above.

Focus – since fireworks only last a few seconds auto focus is generally not recommended. Instead try and get the camera to get a good focus on the first few firework displays. Check it carefully in the LCD display. If it looks good then set your focus to manual and LEAVE it where it just was. Generally focusing on infinity is not ideal. If you don’t have a choice, go to infinity then back it out just a “wee” bit (wee is a technical photographic term meaning not too much but just enough Smile)

Bug spray – if you live in a part of the country where your tiny insect friends also enjoy fireworks then make sure you bring some bug spray. Also a blanket or chair to sit on while waiting for the fun to begin may not be a bad idea

Last Thoughts – enjoy it! This only happens a few times a year if you’re luck so enjoy it.


I call this one “Fire Palm” as it reminds me of a tropical palm tree. The weather this past weekend certainly feels tropical so its no surprise the fireworks took on a tropical feeling Smile

These were taken at the conclusion of Phillipsburg’s Ole Towne Festival.

The rest of the firework photos can be found here.


Cellular Fireworks


I grabbed this quick shot with my cell phone camera (Samsung Focus) during some unexpected fireworks.

For best possible firework photographs remember the following:

1. tripod – very important

2. ISO 100-400. Fireworks are brighter than you think

3. F stop 5.6 to 8.0

4. Exposure. That’s where the fun and creativity come to play. You can do long exposures (as long as you’re on a tripod!!) or even multiple exposures

Enjoy and be safe!