Our Top Tips for Great Bonfire Night Pictures

Our Top Tips for Great Bonfire Night Pictures

Safety First:

We are sure you are aware of the risk surrounding fire & fireworks but when photographing and trying to get that perfect shot our judgement can slip. Maintain a safe distance when shooting and do not cross any safety barriers.  To protect your lens against any stray embers we advise fitting a UV or clear protection filter.  


Use a Tripod:

As you will be using longer shutter speeds the studier the better, if your tripod has a centre column hook hang your bag off it it for extra stabilisation. When bringing your tripod to the required height use the bigger leg sections rather than the centre column as this will keep things steadier.  
Most tripods have built in spirit levels which help to make sure your framing is level. A wonky horizon can really spoil an otherwise great shot.

close up of a bright firework exploding


Use a Cable Release or Remote Trigger:

As mentioned before keeping your camera as still as possible is the key to creating clear night time images.  Using a cabled release, remote trigger or phone app to trigger your shots mean you eliminate any movement caused by you physically touching the camera. We would suggest using bulb (B) mode, which lead us onto our exposure guide...

flame on black background  a lit sparkler with a background of fireworks


Experiment With Your Exposures:

We recommend a high level of experimentation when is comes to shooting fireworks and bonfires outside as the surroundings can be really variable.

However,  a good starting point is to turn off the flash, use a low ISO, 100-200 ideally for nice clean images. An aperture of around f11, although the surroundings may be very dark, light from fireworks is VERY bright. Finally we suggest using Bulb (B) mode for your shutter speed.

This means you control the shutter speed for each individual frame. Most remotes work by depressing the button when you want the exposure to start and releasing when you are ready for it to end.  As firework displays can be quite varied in timed bursts this gives you flexibility and control.  If you don't have to option to use bulb mode, we suggest starting with a 1/2 a second exposure.


The fire doesn't have to be the main event:

Although the straight fireworks shot is alway a winner,  you could try to use the fire/fireworks as added ambiance.  Think portraits lit by the warm glow of the bonfire or the silhouette of a couple with fireworks in the background. 


Have a fantastic bonfire night, we would love to see some of your images, tag us @skearsphotographic!