Equipment Preparation Before the Shoot
SUMMARY: Make sure your digital camera and accessories are ready to take plenty of great fireworks photos.
Preparation is the key to any successful digital photo shoot. Before you go out to a celebration to shoot photos of fireworks, whether it is the US Fourth of July, Boomsday on Labor Day, New Year's Day, or other special occasion, make sure your equipment is ready:
* Obviously if it is legal and feasible (due to large crowds) to bring one along to where you are shooting photos, a tripod is crucial to getting the best, clearest photos. Otherwise you will need to hand-hold your digital camera very steady and do tricks such as increasing the ISO level to take quicker photos due to the low amount of available light. If you are using a dSLR, bring and attach any image stabilization lenses you may own to help offset the inevitable camera shake.
* It is difficult for seasoned amateurs and even an accomplished photographer to take perfect fireworks pictures every time. To increase your chances of taking that 'perfect picture', you should plan on taking lots and lots of photos. Thus, make sure to bring along plenty of empty digital memory cards.
* Likewise, make sure your digital camera is fully charged before the shoot. Bring an extra battery pack/set of rechargeables or two and be prepared to swap them out quickly during the shoot. Do not be caught without power when the grand finale occurs!
* Make sure your digital camera is configured correctly before the shoot. Zoom should be manual and set to infinity at first (you can adjust it as necessary during the show if needed). Some argue setting white balance to auto, others sunny; you may wish to experiment. Even if you are using a tripod, you may wish to set ISO higher to allow for quicker photos, or keep it at 100 if you want to shoot longer exposures (just make sure to set it to an actual number and NOT auto). Decide if you are using RAW or JPG - RAW will give the best results (uncompressed photos), but JPG should let you shoot faster.
Photographers - what other equipment do you use for great fireworks shots? Add your thoughts below!
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