So you’ve been asked to take photos of the fireworks at your friends’ wedding. And you’re nervous about getting it right. I’ve often met professional photographers at the displays I have fired over the years who have the same feeling – so don’t worry, you’re not alone.
But follow these 10 basic principles and you will improve your chances of success.
- Get the basics right. Our simple guide to fireworks photography is a good place to start. It contains all you need to know to get good results. But on a special request like this you will need to do more.
- Stay calm. Don’t drink too much before the display, even though it will probably come at the end of the evening.
3. Talk to the firers. They will be setting up the display during the wedding reception, and although they will be busy, they should be happy to explain what it is going to happen. This puts you in the prime spot for your project. They may even let you get some pictures of the set up.
4. Find out the plan. The firers can tell you about the timings, the products, the effects, how high the fireworks will be going. And they can tell you where you can stand safely to get the best photos.
5. Set yourself up in the best possible position. Get out there before the guests, set up your camera and tripod.
6. Take a few test shots. There won’t be much time once the fireworks begin. So do some tests and check them on the screen before the display starts.
7. Have a small torch. It’s going to be dark, and the buttons on your camera are hard to find in the dark. If you need to make adjustments, you will need to do them quickly.
9. Vary the timings. If you know how to shoot manual exposures and feel confident with them, be prepared to vary the shutter speed as you go along. That way you are “bracketing” your shots and are more likely to get something different and maybe even something really special.
10. Go for the unique shot. Everyone will have their phones out, taking random shots of the fireworks. And some of them will be fine. But you have the chance for something different. The photo at the top of this page was taken by a professional photographer who knew that catching the fireworks themselves was quite tricky. She decided to concentrate on the guests, and especially the bride and groom who were looking up into the sky, surrounded by friends and family, loving the moment. It’s one of the best wedding fireworks photos I have ever seen – and it doesn’t even have any fireworks in it!