Fourth of July is coming up, so it's time for hot dogs, jello salad and of course blowing things up. It's going to be important to have your camera near to catch all those explosive moments. Here are some helpful tips as you're shooting in some challenging conditions.
There will be two aspects to 4th festivities that you're going to be shooting. So I'm going to break this blog into two parts; Part 1 is All the events leading up to the fireworks. Part 2 We'll focus on the fireworks themselves (with your kid's reactions).
1. Be prepared for changing lighting conditions. You might start shooting at 4–5pm and shoot all the way through when the sun sets. You'll want to be prepared to adjust exposure as the sun sets by moving the ISO up and down.
2. Bring the right gear: during this time, you'll want to remain free to move around as much as possible. Skip the tripod and go handheld, it will be bright enough where you won't need one. I recommend a 'normal' lens like a 24-70mm or a 35 or 50mm prime. Something that you can get shoot wide or get close to capturing details.
3. Capture moments, not snapshots. There isn't any need to pose anyone, let moments happen naturally and be away what's going on then prepare for those moments. Think of yourself as a journalist or a storyteller, try not to influence the scene.
4. Get close. Fill the frame with interesting things. Fill the frame with your toddler biting into a huge piece of watermelon or the big smile of your daughter when you get up close with your camera. (Making an unexpected fart noise helps in this situation
5. Get wide. As the sun begins to set and everyone is just sitting around waiting, take a walk back and take a photo of the entire scene. For an even better photo, shoot into the sun making your family silhouettes. Shooting from this position will make a dynamic, saturated golden photo that will turn out great. This technique is tricky to expose right, and you'll want to expose for the sky so that the foreground will go black and the sky will remain exposed correctly.
6. Get low or get high. It's a good practice to shoot kids at eye level, so don't be afraid to get on your stomach and shoot from a low angle. Alternatively, you can stand on your cooler that you brought for Diet Coke and Hot Dogs and shoot down on the scene.
#9 Thes best shots will be at the beginning of the show when the sky is free of smoke. But the smoke can generate some cool effects too, so when you get that awesome firework photo in the beginning, use the rest of the show to be creative with other shots.
#10 Shoot the scene not just the explosions in the sky. Once you've got that perfect (but cliche') firework photo, take a walk with your tripod and get behind your family and friends and include them in the scene. I always think that people make images way more compelling, so include your family looking up.
The biggest advice I can give is to tell a great story. Remember that even the best photo of a firework is just another photo of a firework. Try to look at the scene differently. Experiment and don't be afraid to fail. Once you get that safe shot you can put on Instagram, use the rest of the time to play. Get close to that wine glass and shoot the fireworks reflection. Instead of looking up, look down at your family. Try to get their reactions when the big bangs happen.