8 tips for better fireworks photos using your phone camera


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.

  1. Shoot early in the display to avoid excessive smoke.
  2. Don’t use the zoom. Electronic zoom on phone cameras really just crops your image and will magnify imperfections.
  3. Turn off the flash. It can slow down your camera and adds nothing to fireworks shots.
  4. Ditto for HDR, a feature that shoots a series of photos and combines the best parts. Shut it off for these photos.
  5. 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.
  6. Take a lot of pictures to increase your odds of getting a few good ones.
  7. Hold the phone as still as possible by steadying it against a pole, tree, railing or other stationary object.
  8. 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).

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