Shooting fireworks on Diwali? Here are some tips to get better photos
Diwali is round the corner. And that means, among other things like yummy sweets, a sky lit with fireworks. For the photographers inside us this also means an opportunity to click the streaks of beautiful lights, brightly lit against the pitch black sky.
If you had shot fireworks earlier, you must be familiar with the process of how the exploding light could be captured. But if you haven't and want to do, it can get tricky. Fireworks don't last more than a few seconds and given the contrast between bright light and dark sky, present a scene that is not easy to capture with a camera. If you are thinking of shooting fireworks, use the following tips. We don't guarantee that you will nail the perfect shot using these tips, but if you do it right you will get something that you will like to share on Facebook and Twitter.
Shooting with a smartphone
Shooting fireworks with a smartphone is very tricky and almost impossible unless you are using a device like Nokia PureView 808 or Lumia 1020 with an app that gives full manual control over the camera settings. At the same time, phones like Galaxy S5 and the iPhone 5 or iPhone 6 may also help you capture the moment because they have stellar focus performance.
That said, remember the following tips if you are shooting fireworks with a smartphone camera:
-- Compose your image in advance. This means you should have a rough idea of where fireworks will be visible in the sky.
-- If your phone offers control on the shutter speed and ISO then set them low.
-- Instead of trying to shoot fireworks in sky, try to capture phuljharis. It is easier to shoot them because the light is going to be more even on the ground.
-- While shooting images, keep the phone and your hands very still.
-- Use the night mode, if it is available.
-- Switch off the flash.
Shooting with a point-and-shoot camera
What was true for the smartphone camera is true for the point-and-shoot cameras. It is difficult to shoot fireworks with small cameras unless you have access to manual mode. Still, you can try following tips.
-- Compose your image in advance and either put the camera on a solid surface or, if possible, on a tripod.
-- While shooting images, keep the camera very still.
-- If available, use the night mode.
-- If you have access to the manual mode, keep the shutter speed slow, ISO low and aperture narrow (see the DSLR section for more details).
-- Switch off the flash. The reason why we do this is because flash, even if it can't illuminate a firework exploding 100 metres away, provides fill light that is problem when you are trying to shoot an image with lots of contrast (bright light from fireworks and dark sky).
Shooting with a DSLR camera
A DSLR camera is the right tool if you are going to shoot fireworks. The reason, it has a large image sensor that will help it deal with all the light and dark areas that you are going to capture and it gives a user full control on the camera settings.
So, if you are shooting with a DSLR camera, here is how you should do it:
-- Compose the image in advance. This means you should know the spot where the crackers are going to explode in the sky.
-- Use a tripod. This is very important. Without tripod, it is nearly impossible to get sharp images of fireworks. If you don't have access to a tripod, keep your camera on a solid and even surface. If even that is not possible, hold the camera very steadily in your hands, rest your left arm - the one which is under the camera - on a railing or bench and support your body against a wall. This basically helps keep the camera steady when you are clicking images.
-- Set the ISO low. ISO of 100 or 200 is fine. This will help you get good colours in images. If ISO is high, the dark areas in the picture will have lots of noise.
-- Set the aperture low (high value). This means aperture of F8 or more. This will help you use a slow shutter speed as well as gives sharper images.
-- Set the shutter speed low. This means shutter speed in seconds and not in milliseconds. If you are hoping to capture three or four exploding crackers in one frame, you may even have to use a shutter speed of as high as 30 seconds. This is why tripod is so important.
-- Shoot and shoot more. Getting some nice shots means a little bit of practice. For example, initially, depending on the light in the sky, you may find that some of your aperture and shutter speed settings need tweaking. So tweak them, shoot and see the results. You may have to spend a couple of hours shooting before you get the perfect images.
Credits: India Today