How To Photograph Fireworks At Weddings - Josiah & Steph Photography

Capturing Fireworks at Weddings

A How To

We recently photographed a wedding at Scotland Run Golf Course that had a fireworks show! How cool is that?! We weren’t sure how to capture this at first because it’s not like you can really practice shooting this. It’s not everyday you shoot fireworks while incorporating a posed bride & groom in the shot. Needless to say, we were a bit nervous because we really wanted to create an epic fireworks shot. Below, we are going to walk you through how we captured our favorite shot from the fireworks show at Brooke & Dylan’s wedding.

A Classic Lavender & Grey Wedding At Scotland Run in Williamstown, NJ

Our Walkthrough

The first thing we did was obviously figure out where the fireworks would be, that way we could place our couple in the right spot. We made sure to get the bride & groom away from the rest of the crowd so we could get an image with just them and the fireworks. There was a huge balcony to our right where all of the guests watched the fireworks show. We knew if we kept Dylan & Brooke up there that we wouldn’t get anywhere close to the shot we imagined so we brought them down to the golf course.

Step two was to pose them. As you can see, we simply had them put an arm around one another. We then instructed them to alternate between looking at the fireworks, counting to 30 together and then looking at each other, counting to 30 again and then switching back to looking at the fireworks. They repeated this process until the fireworks show was over. It’s important to keep the posing and instruction really simple because it obviously gets pretty loud with fireworks bursting above you. We occasionally yelled, “Kiss” when they were looking at each other.

Step three was to figure out our lighting. We knew we needed flash to illuminate Dylan & Brooke. We wanted the flash up pretty high, but without spilling a ton of light across the entire grass. To keep the light somewhat focused on them, we placed a grid modifier from MagMod on our flash (you can buy one here). The grid focuses the light rather than having an open bulb that would cause the light to spread everywhere. Steph tossed the flash on a stand and hoisted it way up in the air while pointing it at the couple to eliminate even more spill. Steph placed the flash 30-45 degrees from camera. As you can see with their shadow, the flash was to camera left.

Step four was to dial in our camera settings. We knew we wanted a little bit of a slower shutter speed to capture the light streaks from the fireworks. Our settings for the shot above was ISO 1,000; Shutter Speed was 1/13 and our aperture was f/4 with a Kelvin White Balance of 5,850.

Then we just kept shooting, hoping that we would get the right combination of fireworks, light, focus, and composition! To some up everything we just said in simple bullet point tips.

  • Get the Bride & Groom away from their guests
  • Keep the posing simple, essentially allowing them to alternate between a combination of 2-3 poses every 30 seconds
  • Use Off-Camera Flash, keeping it 40ish degrees to the left or right of camera. Don’t forget to get it high in the air to eliminate more spill.
  • Use a slower shutter speed to capture more light from the fireworks and to keep your image from being a black hole due to all of the surrounding darkness.
  • Increase ISO and drop your aperture a bit to ensure you nail focus.
  • Some of your best shots will happen at the finale. Get ready because you may have to change your shutter speed due to the intense brightness of all the fireworks bursting in one spot.
  • Use a wide angle lens & shoot vertical (portrait).
  • Don’t be afraid to lay on the ground. Josiah was on his back shooting up at the couple for nearly every shot.
  • Trust yourself & your ability. Don’t forget to have fun!

 

There you have it! Those are our tips and a little behind the scenes of how we captured that shot! We hope it helps you create awesome firework images for your clients at their weddings!

How To Photograph Fireworks At Weddings

For Photographers

  1. Kayla Grey says:

    This is a fantastic post! Gorgeous pictures!! 🙂 Thank you for sharing!! 🙂

  2. Jaclyn Nolin says:

    Hi!! I have a wedding with fireworks in a couple of weeks so this post was great! One question, did you have to use a tripod?

    • Hey Jaclyn!

      Nope. I didn’t use a tripod. Just tried to be as still as I could. I can’t remember exactly what our shutter speed was at, but I want to say somewhere around 1/100.

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