How to Take The Best Firework Photos with Your iPhone

Want to give your firework photos a GLOW-UP this year? Here are a few tips for much better iPhone photography results.

1. Use a tripod
This is always the recommendation and, quite frankly, I rarely use one. But they do make a big difference in the clarity of your low light iPhone photography. When it's dark out, every breath you take (cue the Sting soundtrack) definitely affect the clarity of your photos. Things get blurry fast when there's no sunshine. Selfie sticks usually have an option for transforming into a stand-alone tripod. And you can also improvise by propping your phone up against a water bottle. If you aren't using a tripod, just be sure to hold as still as possible. The slightest shakes will show up in your photos. 

2. Be intentionally blurry
Some of us (i.e. ME) love some artistic blur (hence why I don't stress over the tripod all that much), so there are fun slow shutter 3rd party apps that you can use to intentionally (and artistically) blur your fireworks photos. I like the Pro Camera Moment app and Slow Shutter Cam apps for creating artistic light painting slow shutter photos. Sparklers are especially fun light painting tools!

3. Use Burst Mode or Live Mode for traditional firework photos
Slide your shutter to the left so that it rapid fires taking a LOT of photos in a very short burst or time. This way, you will get the best photo options to choose from. Alternatively, use Live photo mode to record that 3 second video clip before and after you take a photo because this also gives you more options for finding that perfect shot. 
Here's a 60-second video tutorial and a blog post that I wrote on how to use burst mode on your iPhone.

4. Make sure your flash is turned OFF
This should go without saying, but nothing ruins fireworks photos faster than being blasted with a light. Make sure you've got the little ghostbusters (slash through) your flash symbol.

5. Lower your exposure
Your phone will try to brighten EVERYTHING when taking a photo, so you have to override this auto brightening to get a more contrasty and interesting photo. Tap your finger on your screen and then slide the little sunshine down to darken the photo. Keep in mind that every time you move, the phone will reset and auto brighten the scene, again. You can lock the exposure setting by going to the "hidden" menu on your iPhone. Tap on the little carrot at the top of the screen and then go to the +- exposure setting and darken the scene. It'll stay locked until you change it. 

I have a 60-second demo on Instagram on how to lower your exposure when taking low light sparkler photos. 

5. Should you try night mode?
Keep in mind that night mode will deactivate LIVE photo mode, so you have to choose which one option is working better. Night mode gives you a longer shutter to bring in more light, it can produce a blurry effect, but it doesn't give you a whole lot of options to control it. I usually hold my breath while taking a photo in live photo mode because it is (intentionally) very slow and will show every movement. The camera will even tell you to hold still. I prefer to use LIVE photo mode for fireworks and then I use a 3rd party app to create a slow shutter (artistically blurry look) with more advanced control options.

6. Video mode
Yes, you can definitely shoot a video of your fireworks show (be sure to lower the exposure and lock the focus - see step 5). While taking a video, you can simultaneously shoot photos, just hit the white button while in video mode. I have a demo on how this works on Instagram => here. 

7. Don't forget about sparklers, glow sticks, laser shows and all of the other fun GLOWto possibilities!
I live in Colorado, where (due to fire dangers) summertime fireworks are mostly a thing of the past (though we get spectacular shows during our snowy Winter Carnival). But there are plenty of other GLOWto opportunities to have fun with. And all of these tips work for creative photos whether it's a laser light show or an at home rave with glow sticks, flashlights and glow in the dark balloons. In fact, there's tons you can do creatively with long exposure light painting, especially with a DSLR or Mirrorless camera. But you'll still have lots of creative GLOWtos with your iPhone, as well!

Did you know that we talk about all of these creative iPhone photo tips AND MORE inside of The Life Feast? 

Check and see if we are ready to enroll new members or when the doors are re-opening to our wonderful waitlist members. Are you on the waitlist, yet?


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