How to Take Impressive Fireworks Photos on Your Phone

While we don't encourage holding your phone up during the entire show, we do hope your photos are as dazzling as the display. Here's how to capture them quickly, so you can sit back, relax, and enjoy rest of the evening.


Step 1. Find the perfect location
Arrive early and stake out the perfect spot. Your location should be free of visual obstructions like trees, poles, and other viewers. You might also want a flat surface nearby to help keep your camera steady (think a picnic table, fence, or railing). If you can’t get up close, don’t compensate for the distance by using zoom. Crop your photos afterward for a clearer shot.

Step 2. Set up your camera app
Tap the HDR button at the top of the screen and choose HDR On. To ensure your phone saves both the HDR On and HDR Off photos (one may be better than the other) go to Settings > Photos & Camera and switch the “Keep Normal Photo” toggle to green. Finally, turn your flash off. The fireworks should produce enough light on their own.

Step 3. Try burst mode
Take a ton of photos quickly by utilizing your phone’s burst mode. Simply hold down the shutter button for multiple seconds in order to take rapid-fire photos. The more snaps, the merrier.

Step 4: Consider a third-party app
The $1 app Slow Shutter Cam will enable you to capture slow shutter speed effects. For fireworks, iPhonePhotoLab recommends choosing Light Trail from the app’s Capture mode, and setting your shutter speed to Bulb.

Step 5. Take a time lapse
If the sole purpose of your photo shoot is to upload it to Instagram, try a simple time lapse. The video will be clearer than a photo, and you’ll be able to capture an entire burst at once. Play the lapse in reverse for an even more dazzling post.

MORE: Can You Guess What This Fireworks Display Is Called?

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest