How To Photograph Fireworks: Settings & Technique

This lesson will teach you basics on shooting fireworks with any DSLR camera.

Basic Camera Settings

Set your camera to manual mode (M).

  • ISO: 200
  • F-Stop: F/11
  • Shutter Speed: 8 Seconds
  • Open lens as wide as it will go (zoom out).
  • Autofocus can work, but it would be much better to set your lens to ∞ infinity or learn how to manually focus at night where you will get a crisp image.

It would be preferred that you set your shutter speed to Bulb (B) and either use a shutter release cable or hold the trigger down. Press the shutter button or cable release as soon as fireworks are lit, and let go once the round of fireworks has finished discharging.


  • You will need a tripod and it is highly recommended you use a shutter release cable
  • Find an interesting spot to shoot the fireworks show, keeping in mind that your lens will need to capture the fireworks high in the sky.
  • If the wind is blowing your way, so will all the smoke.
  • If your camera has long exposure noise reduction, turn that on.
  • Do not use flash on your camera
  • If the photo looks too dark, change your f stop to something wider like F/9, F/5.6 etc.
  • To improve your photography, check out some night photography equipment recommendations here.

A creative way to practice in advance of a fireworks show is to have a friend hold a roman candle while you shoot.







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