How to take photos of fireworks with your smartphone

Fireworks are set to fill the night sky in neighborhoods across Oregon. So what’s the best way to capture images of fireworks on your smartphone?

Most users never take their phone’s camera out of automatic mode. But you’ll need to go manual if you want that perfect shot.

Nighttime photos typically require your phone to have longer exposures, upping the chance you’ll come out with a blurry image. So you’ll want to hold your phone as steady as possible. Ideally, you’ll want to use a tripod. At the very least, hold your phone steady against a stationary object.

Try using a night mode–some phones even have a fireworks mode. You’ll also need to turn off the automatic flash.

With an iPhone, you may need to download an app such as Slow Shutter, which allows for a slower shutter speed.

If you’re lucky enough to have a phone with a “pro mode,” or full manual controls, you’ll want to crank up the ISO (though not too high to avoid grainy photos) and lower your shutter speed. Again, you’ll want the phone as stationary as possible.

It may be a good idea to play with the ISO/shutter speed ratio before the show starts to get a feel of how your camera performs at night. You can use a sparkler to test your shots.

Some newer phones will take a single photo for as long of 30 seconds, capturing the streams of fireworks like a professional camera.

Finally, you’ll need to lock your focus on something as distant as the object you’re trying to photograph to prevent your camera from “hunting” for focus.

If all else fails, simply record video of the fireworks to share with your friends and family–or just put the phone down and enjoy the show.

Good luck with all of your Independence Day shots, and don’t forget to share with us on our Facebook page!

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