How to photograph a salute

How to photograph fireworks and salutes in difficult conditions?

Fireworks Sample Photo

Fireworks Sample Photo

There are articles on the Internet that salutes must be photographed with a tripod, at ISO 50, ISO100 with a remote control, etc. But sometimes even professional photographers who simply learn about the salute at the end of an event simply do not have all of this. And you have to get out only with the maximum possible settings and personal skills of the photographer. It is important how to take pictures, and not by what means.

Salute, an example of a photograph taken on a whale lens

Salute, an example of a photograph taken on a whale lens

And so, when photographing fireworks or salutes, you need to remember that there is very little light, because excerpt will be big enough, and at the same time need to be wary of camera shake. If the camera moves, trembles in the hands - there is a high probability of getting a blurry frame. But at the same time, you need a longer shutter speed to catch explosion dynamics of bright lights. When shooting, you need to find such a compromise.

Here are some recommendations that I found useful when photographing fireworks with my hands.

  1. We take the widest angle, for example, 18mm. We fit the whole scene, and even at 18mm the aperture can open as much as possible.
  2. We open the maximum aperture - here every quantum of light is important. If shooting was done with a tripod - then it can be covered somewhere up to F8.0
  3. We choose ISO to taste, it is better to disable automatic ISO. I take from 90 to 800 on my D3200 - this is not a portrait shooting and you should not be afraid of noise from high ISO. And those who are not worried about the dynamics of photography with a salute, but for its smoothness - the noise can be perfectly suppressed to an acceptable value in the editor.
  4. Due to large noise shoot in RAW, then to drag the desired picture by the ears, given that we work in extreme conditions - without a tripod, with a whale lens and a cropped matrix.
  5. Disable aft focus. If this is not done, the camera will not be able to focus quickly and the shutter button will be locked. What does the type of cameras Nikon D40 the shutter release will be locked until the camera decides that it is in focus. At what in any of the operating modes of the AFS, AFA, AFC focusing system. Older cameras will take pictures even without getting in focus in AFC mode (tracking mode).
  6. Mount on the lens focus on infinity. We shoot the far sky, the best option is to quickly get into focus. And in another way it will not work.
  7. Turn on burst mode. In order not to miss a single salute explosion. Remember that salutes do not last forever. And with a dozen frames, you can almost always choose one of good quality.
  8. If there is an image stabilization mode, turn it on.
  9. Don't breathe tightly clutching the camera in his hands, taking pictures at shutter speeds from 1/20 to / 100
  10. We make ISO corrections, apertures to taste to achieve the desired effect. Moreover, the understanding that you need to either raise the ISO or close the aperture comes very quickly. It’s best to shoot in manual mode (M mode) when you can control and shutter speed and aperture, adjusting the values excerpts and apertures.
Salute photography example

Salute photography example

Shooting of this kind gives a quick understanding of the basic parameters and settings of the camera, the operation of autofocus, the effect of the aperture on the amount of light, and most importantly - how long should be short excerpt at a certain focal length to prevent blurry images.

Short exposure fireworks

Short exposure fireworks

For example, I took the photo data from my hands on a whale lens without suppressing vibration - everything is quite simple. Photos unfortunately with post-processing, the parameters are imprinted in the picture.

It’s easy to shoot fireworks

It's easy to shoot fireworks

If there is a desire to correct photos in the editor, then a great solution would be to reduce the noise level, and also add light to fill the photo - this will help to draw a path from the smoke along which a fireball or fireworks flew.

Conclusion: shooting a salute is an interesting and fun thing that requires a minimum of skills. For this ideal tripod and long excerpt. As a compromise, the considerations described above can be used.

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Comments: 32, on the topic: How to photograph a salute

  • Paul

    Thank you very much! I read your articles with interest. Great site. I wish you success in everything.

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