How to take great photos of fireworks with your phone

Camera settings for photographing fireworks

Fireworks are tough because the sudden, intense light can confuse your camera. That’s why it shouldn’t be in automatic mode. Manual mode will let you pick the perfect settings in advance.

  • Make sure your flash is off.
  • Turn off autofocus.
  • You don’t need a special lens; any zoom lens will do. The best shots will probably be between 50 and 100 mm.
  • Turn the ISO down to 200. The higher you make it, the more washed out the sky will look in your shot.
  • You’ll want an aperture of f/11 to f/16 for the best results.
  • You’ll want a long exposure to get the whole burst. One or two seconds should capture great shots. Turn on Long Exposure and Noise Reduction.
  • You can even set your camera to bulb mode – that’s B on most cameras. This means the shutter will stay open until you release the trigger. Hit it right before the rocket bursts and release it when the light starts to go away.

Of course, long exposures mean you should break out the tripod and cable release. This keeps you from shaking the camera and blurring the shot.


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