Cover photo by Wesley Edwards
It's getting to that time of the year again when fireworks come out to play. And you know what that means–a perfect opportunity to capture some great photos! But the problem with taking photos of fireworks is that you don't really get to experience them yourself, other than through a lens. What if there were a way to fully automate your fireworks photography? Well with Triggertrap there is. In fact, fireworks were one of the very inspirations for Triggertrap Mobile.
What will I need to take fully automated photos of fireworks?
- An SLR or other camera that deals well with low light and long exposures. You'll need a camera that has a bulb setting.
- A tripod – it'll be dark, and we are going to be dealing with long exposures.
- Your Triggertrap Mobile kit along with the Triggertrap Mobile app pre-installed on your Android or iOS device.
- If you want to be completely hands-free; a Triggertrap Phonetrap would come in handy allowing you to secure your smartphone to the hotshoe of your camera.
What do my camera and Triggertrap settings need to be?
- A low ISO – 100 or 200 works well.
- Bulb mode – Here's a tutorial on how to use this.
- A smaller aperture than you might think. Fireworks are pretty bright after all. We recommend ƒ/8.0 as a good starting point.
- Shoot in RAW, as it gives a lot more leeway for editing later.
Once you've got your camera settings down, plug in your Triggertrap Mobile kit and launch the Triggertrap Mobile app on your smartphone. Use the Star Trail mode, as this is perfect for taking a series of long exposure shots. Try setting the app to take 3 second exposures with a 0.5 second gap between them. Once you start the programme, it'll simply capture those gorgeous fireworks shots for you fully automatically. This leaves you free to sit back and enjoy the show!
Our top tips for fireworks photography:
- For the best results, you don't want to capture a single instant–you want the 'trail' effect, which means that you need to use a longer shutter speed.
- Since the location of fireworks is generally predictable, get there early. This way you can nab yourself a great spot without any trees or obstacles in the way of the sky.
- Bring a torch. The last thing you need is to not be able to see your camera settings in the dark.
- Think foreground. Fireworks shots are beautiful on their own, but if you want to capture something really captivating you've got to think outside the box. One way of getting an interesting foreground is to incorporate silhouettes. Buildings, trees, and even people (if you can get them to stand still) can all make for great silhouettes.
Share your fireworks shots with us!
As always, we'd love to see what you guys come up with. Whether you're popping out to do some fireworks photography, or whether you get up to anything else cool. You can tag us #Triggertrap and @Triggertrap on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Don't forget you can also add your photos to the Triggertrap pool on Flickr.