our tips for successful fireworks photos with a smartphone

Explosions of colors, crackling of sparks, fireworks illuminate the retinas, but remain very difficult to capture for ordinary mortals. It must be said that the shooting conditions are not the most optimal: night, dynamic and evanescent explosion, hasty disappearances. We explain how to succeed in immortalizing this pyrotechnic feat on your smartphone.

Fireworks are pretty, and some even manage to capture great photos of the sky just lit up by these multicolored explosions. Some, but not you. However, only equipped with your smartphone, you can take great shots (but yes).

We give you some tips to be ready to draw on D-Day.

Tripod, flash, zoom, basic tips

Well, let’s start with what seems obvious: to succeed in your photos, you will have to find a good location, clear, close enough (within the limit of the security perimeter, of course) with an optimal (and wide) shooting angle. and monitor the weather (watch out for the wind). For this, you will obviously have to locate the places upstream and determine in which direction the fires will be launched.

  • Place your smartphone on a special tripod to hold your device steady (no, a selfie stick won’t do). At night, the slightest movement or shaking can ruin your shots. Without a tripod, you will have to find something to stabilize your hand/wrist/arm. For example, a friend’s head or shoulder, a tree, a low wall, etc. You can find tripods around 20 euros.
  • No flash
  • Do not zoom. You will crop later as needed. On most smartphones, the zoom is not optical, but digital, by zooming you will only get pixelated shots. On the other hand, the latest Premium smartphones from Apple, Samsung or Xiaomi to name a few, are equipped with an optical zoom.
  • Avoid autofocus (automatic focus), it may squint while looking for the point on which to focus and make your photos blurry. Without autofocus, the camera focuses on the image as a whole.
  • Disable HDR, it won’t help with fireworks and slows down shooting. But check that the resolution of your smartphone camera is at its maximum.
  • Adjust your phone’s “Camera” settings: aperture, shutter (exposure) or choose an application that will do it for you.
@ Photo by Rahul Pandit

Play on the ISO to better take your night photos

Concretely, it is often not possible to manually adjust the ISO sensitivity of your smartphone. As you get closer, the ISO sensitivity will be lower, your photos less “noisy”, and therefore sharper. At night, you may be tempted to increase the ISO sensitivity: the higher the ISO sensitivity, the more you reduce the exposure time (faster shutter speed) and the risk of blurring, and the clearer the photos are. . But if you’re already using a tripod, you don’t need to make such changes.

On many smartphones now, the Camera app comes with a “night shot” feature that automatically optimizes camera functions for that mode. Be careful because depending on the case, this mode may make your shots too bright.

On the application side, we advise you to download Open Camera (on Android), Camera for Android or Halide (paying on iOS).

Finally, a few final tips:

  • Take as many photos as possible at the start of the show, after a few minutes the sky may be saturated with smoke, just like your photos.
  • Trigger your burst mode if you are at the end of your rope and are afraid of missing your shots.
  • Do not hesitate to film the set of fireworks, especially if your smartphone has a good resolution, you can take screenshots afterwards.
  • Test your new settings before D-Day, for example with a magic birthday candle (Bengal fire), you will avoid many disappointments.

Ready? Shoot!

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