Apple’s latest iPhones take some pretty incredible images during the day, but it’s a different story when the sun goes down. Despite its LED flash, the iPhone’s performance in low-light still needs significant improvement. But if you’ve already abandoned a dedicated point-and-shoot, and you were hoping to snap some images at the firework display this July 4, here are some tips for taking great firework photos on your iPhone.
According to Ghengis Fireworks, the first thing you’ll need to do is find the right location:
That doesn’t mean going to the right firework display — although you will want to choose a good one — it means standing in the right place.
Choosing the right distance from the firework display will vary depending on the type of display. For a public event with commercial pyrotechnics you ideally want to be as far away as possible. The fireworks are generally big spreading across the sky. You will be able to photograph more effects the further you are away.
You also need to avoid obstructions, like trees, power lines, or buildings, and other light sources nearby that may impair your image.
You might be snapping photographs at night, but you’ll want to turn your iPhone’s flash off for this. Not only does that remove the unwanted light source we just mentioned, but it also reduces shutter speed lag and blurring.
You can turn off your iPhone’s flash by tapping the lighting bolt in the top corner. Be sure you select ‘off’, and not ‘auto’.
Focus & Exposure
You’ll need to lock focus and exposure before attempting to snap any firework images on your iPhone, and there are two good reason for this:
- The point of focus can be hit and miss. If you are shooting a large array of fireworks the camera will focus on the biggest and brightest firework. In most instances the focus point is never central.
- The second, which is annoying, is the delay as the camera tries to find the best point of focus. The amount of the delay is dependent on the amount of movement and light in the sky. The delay can be so long you miss your shots.
To prevent this, lock your focus and exposure by tapping and holding the center of your iPhone’s display until the blue box appears. (iOS 5 required.) When you remove your finger, you’ll notice a little ‘AE/AF Lock’ message at just above the camera’s shutter button.
This is photography basic: Try not to move while snapping your image. Whether you’re taking a picture of your cat in his new sweater, the tuna salad you’re having for dinner, or the fireworks you’re watching on Independence Day, you need to keep still to prevent a blurry image.
If you’re one of those people who just cannot keep your hands still, then a tripod may help. You may also consider a remote shutter option that will prevent your device from moving when you hit the shutter button.
Alternatively, you could use a third-party camera app with a built-in timer that means you don’t need to press the shutter button. The problem with this, of course, is it’s going to be near impossible to set a timer to capture the fireworks at the right time — even if you’re the one setting them off.
Now that you’re stood in the right place with your flash turned off, focus and exposure locked, and steady hands, it’s time to snap your photos.
Just remember taking photos of fireworks is not easy, even for a seasoned photographer. You won’t take a perfect photo every time, it’s a numbers game. Keep snapping away, you are bound to end up with some nice photos. Remember practice makes perfect…
So that’s how you take awesome firework images on your iPhone. Good luck!
Source: Ghengis Fireworks.