How to Take Beautiful Fireworks Photos with Your Phone
What comes to your mind when you think of the 4th of July?
Barbecues? Camping? Catching a parade or baseball game? One thing we can always count on for the 4th is fireworks. Have you ever tried to take a fireworks photo with your phone? It can be a challenge to say the least. Today’s smartphones are coming equipped with higher quality cameras, but there’s still one major deficiency – taking photos at night and in low light. Before you head out this Independence Day, make sure you test these key elements to make sure you get the most impressive pyrotechnics shots.
Before the night of the show, stake out the venue to find the best spot. Keep in mind that closer isn’t always better. Make sure there are no obstructions like power lines, buildings, or trees. These obstructions could put a damper on your perfect shot. One major factor that you can’t really plan for is wind. When combined with the residual smoke of the fireworks, wind may make your photos blurry. How do you avoid this from happening? Shoot your photos early on in the show when the skies are clear and stake out your position to take advantage of (or reduce disadvantages of) prevailing wind conditions.
There’s an App for That
Nighttime and low light photography is all about slow shutter speed. If you are looking for a quick and easy way to get the most burst for your buck on an iPhone, try NightCap. NightCap is fantastic for controlling live shutter speed and has a great ISO display. An easy-to-view on-screen grid adds excellent composition for pyrotechnic photography. If you have an Android, take a peek at the Camera FV-5 app. For $3.95 this app is well worth every penny. For an even cooler effect, Camera FV-5 lets you take shots with exposure times up to several seconds, which means your fireworks photo will include impressive and exciting light trails.
Give Video a Go
The fireworks aren’t just about the visual show. We also love fireworks for the the action. The average fireworks show is approximately 15- 20 minutes, so video is an awesome way to capture the best shot. Since video is essentially hundreds if not thousands (depending on the video’s length) of still photos threaded together, you can break down your video into individual segments. Apps like StillShot for the iPhone or Androvid for the Android operating system. These apps let you view your video frame-by-frame to cherrypick the best looking photo from your short film.
Interested in upping your mobile phone photography skills? Fireworks are fast moving so stabilization is of the utmost importance. If your phone has a stabilization feature, fire it up. If not, consider a tripod stabilizer mount for optimum picture quality. Remember to always keep your phone charged or your memories of the show will go up in smoke. Your phone’s camera will be useless without battery, consider a backup battery power pack to keep in your purse to pocket to stay charged throughout the show.
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