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.

Comments on this post do not require registration. Anyone can leave a comment. For the selection of a variety of photographic equipment, I recommend E-Catalog и AliExpress.

Material prepared Arkady Shapoval... Look for me on Youtube | Facebook | VK | Instagram | Twitter.

Add a comment: Al



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

  • Serg

    Very beautiful fireworks! I even know who the wedding was)))

  • dandan

    Arkady, your articles are magnificent as always! thanks to you, and only to you I can photo-glaze exactly the way I can! thanks!

  • Sensual

    Arkasha, and talent grows in you! I hope you will continue to please us with good articles and photos)

  • Alexander

    Great article. Thanks.

  • Useful article, thanks. I myself have never had a chance to shoot a salute. I wonder if you can get good pictures if you use a tripod and a shutter speed of 2-5 seconds?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Yes, I mentioned this, and at lower ISOs there will be less noise and more stains from flying fireballs. The Internet is full of long exposure shots from a tripod. As soon as the opportunity presents itself, I will write about it.

  • Thank you for the article! you correctly noted that there is not always a tripod ... well you did it !!!

  • anonym

    It would also be interesting to learn how to photograph lightning day and night.

  • ahit

    thanks for the sensible and useful articles

  • Maksim

    I have not photographed solutes yet, but I will definitely learn. And your article Arkady very, very much reduces the training time. Thank you very much. You have given a "point of view" using which 99% of the semi-complete photos!

  • Deimos

    It’s necessary to become, I’ll apply it today, apparently everything should work out

  • Eugene

    Praise to people who, not sparing their time, share invaluable tips with beginners!
    I read every article with an internal exclamation “So this is how it should have been done!….”

    Thank you, honestly, many thanks to the author for his work and patience.

    Sincerely, Eugene.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      It's my pleasure. Do not forget about helping the project.

  • Farik

    Arkady! Sorry, that is off topic! For a month now I’ve been looking for a tripod up to $ 100 and I just can’t pick it up. My requirements: in order not to sway in the wind, I kept the camera and was strong enough. Nikon D90 + 18-105. Thank you!

    • Arkady Shapoval

      For 100 cu hard to find a good tripod.

    • Sergei

      A tripod from theodolite of the USSR meets all your requirements. You didn’t say anything about weight.

  • systemlord

    Very useful stuff, especially before the new year! Since I’m not the most successful newbie, it would be nice to know some tips for evening shooting. She is not given to me either, because of arrhythmia my hands are shaking very much, and evening events are not offensive enough to take off!

  • Alexander

    “I've been looking for a tripod up to $ 100 for a month now and I just can't find it”

    Pay attention to the Velbon CX-640, I bought in Foxtrot, only $ 50, for this price I could not find the best. Strong enough. I took it under the D300, the mechanic himself with great experience, the tripod was examined professionally, like a car in the market :)
    I read regularly and a lot, unsubscribe for the first time: many thanks to the author for his efforts, for the material, for his thoughts, for the time spent on us :)

    • BB

      The CX series is the most budgetary Velbon series.
      Let's just say - better than nothing, but it will be flimsy for a heavy apparatus and large FR.
      There is no smoothness of movement.

  • Aidyn

    Happy new year!
    read the article after the salute in honor of the New Year!
    that's what happened!

  • anonym

    Thank you so much for your articles, really! You explain everything in an accessible way, without the pathos and show-offs so characteristic of many photographers. With all this, you really TALENT. Thanks)
    Tell me, with what settings to shoot small moving objects, for example, falling rose petals (without blur, so that the petals are visible)? The first wedding is coming soon, it will be incredibly important to record the flight of the petals, for the repetition of this event as part of a single wedding, of course, is not expected. Camera d 90

    • Arkady Shapoval

      At a short shutter speed, approximately 1 \ 60 can be seen light trail from falling to achieve the effect of movement.

  • anonym

    And with exposure, say, 1/2000 is this possible? In general, what other parameters of ISO, aperture should be set, or is it not so important, what will they be?

  • Belochka

    Thank you so much for such a wonderful site! Very informative and easy to understand! !! ♡♡♡

  • Vladimir

    You can also probably add:
    11. Turn on the self-timer for 5 sec. and put the camera on some surface (for example, on the roof of your car or on a bench) with the lens upwards, if you are under the “epicenter” of the fireworks. This way you can eliminate “hand shake”.
    True, then you have to rely on luck, in terms of coincidence of the shutter and flash from the salute.
    This can be used for large salutes, when the sky is constantly illuminated by flashes.)

  • Paul

    Your Ekzifs have died ... ... ... .. I have 1/30 smeared ... ... And so 1/50 iso 400 ... ... black color. yes, and under the fireworks the lying houses were captured ……….

  • Al

    Maybe someone will come in handy: when removing from your hands, you can put the camera strap on your elbow in such a way that you cannot fully extend your arm at the elbow. This extra tension reduces the amount of tremor in the wrist somewhat - it helps a lot!

  • anonym

    I read various interesting things here a couple of times, I advise all friends

  • Alexey

    can I share my pictures here? and for one see other works

  • BB

    I do not know about others, but for me personally it is quite difficult to catch fireworks at a shutter speed of 1/20 and shorter, in addition, the “trail” is not very long.
    Usually I shoot with a zoom, on FR 25-50 and f / 5, I set the shutter speed from 1/3 to 1 second, take aim, and then you can hardly release the shutter button if the space on the card allows.
    With the stub turned on, there are quite a few lubricants - the main thing is to stand steadily.

  • Alexander

    The pictures were not impressive, always take a tripod with you, our reliable friend and assistant

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