Very timely – just came across this post from Dale J. Roe from Austin 360. I will definitely give this a try tonight when we celebrate 4th of July in Long Island City.
- Shoot early in the display to avoid excessive smoke.
- Don’t use the zoom. Electronic zoom on phone cameras really just crops your image and will magnify imperfections.
- Turn off the flash. It can slow down your camera and adds nothing to fireworks shots.
- Ditto for HDR, a feature that shoots a series of photos and combines the best parts. Shut it off for these photos.
- If your phone’s camera has focus and exposure lock, use it on your first shots. When you find one that looks good, leave it alone.
- Take a lot of pictures to increase your odds of getting a few good ones.
- Hold the phone as still as possible by steadying it against a pole, tree, railing or other stationary object.
- If you’re viewing the activity as a challenge, smart phone apps such as Slow Shutter (iOS) or Camera FV-5 (Android) can be useful in mimicking longer exposures. Other apps such as GorillaCam Pro allow you to take a specific number of photos at specific intervals (say, 500 — one every two seconds) so you can just set your camera somewhere, aim it and forget it (but don’t actually forget it; losing a phone is a drag).