The 4th of July is such a fun holiday to photograph! With the fireworks, food, fanfare, and all the other traditions there is so much to photograph. Here are some pointers for capturing all those moments on your 4th.
To successfully capture fireworks you are going to need a tripod. I recommend finding your spot prior to the fireworks beginning and mounting your camera to the tripod and getting your settings all dialed in.
You will want to shoot in Manual mode for this. A good starting point for fireworks is f/8, 5 seconds, ISO 200. If this is too dark try a longer shutter speed or larger aperture. Varying the settings will yield different results. The longer the shutter is open the more trails you will get, but if its open to long it will be overexposed. I recommend a wide lens to take in all of the scene. Set your focus prior to the fireworks starting and flip it into manual focus mode so that your camera isn’t searching for the focus and missing the shots.
- Include the foreground and middle ground in addition to the sky.
- Include people in your shots (have them hold real still)
- Play around with focus, unfocused images are fun and produce a different result all together.
- Zoom in for a different perspective.
Don’t forget the details! Perhaps my favorite part of the 4th is all the little details that make up the day. Focus on the food, drinks, decorations, and hands.
Make sure to capture the people you are with! Try and catch genuine moments of laughter and excitement. Kids reactions to fireworks are pretty priceless. Try to capture their reaction and the fireworks in one image. Sparklers are great for this. Document the activities of the day too from swimming to soccer, to flip cup.
Red, White, and Blue
Look for red, white, and blue through out the day. While there is the obvious flags to photograph also look for the colors in your environment. Look for clouds, flowers, cars, doors, clothing, red lips, food, drinks, etc.
Don’t forget to video record some of the moments of the day too. This is a great time to use time-lapse or Boomerang to capture the activities of the day.
Share with us!
We want to see your 4th pics! Tag them #wtp4th on IG, we will be sharing some of our favorites.
About the Author
Beth Mancuso is a portrait and landscape photographer based out of Minnesota. She has been in business as a portrait photographer for over ten years. She has spent the last six years working as an instructor and mentor. Her work has been featured by National Geographic, Huff Post, My Modern Met, Peta Pixel, and Lensbaby. Her work has been published in Click, Midwest Living, and Black and White Magazine. You can read more about her here. You can find a portfolio of her landscape work here. You can find here portrait work here.