iPhone fireworks photography is a blast with Pro Camera app

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shooting fireworks with iPhone
With some preparation and the Pro Camera app, you can capture great fireworks displays.
Photo: Midori/Wikimedia CC

With Fourth of July fireworks in the skies this weekend, mobile photography brand Moment picked a good moment to update its Pro Camera app with a new Slow Shutter mode.

The feature, added today, brings a surefire way for iPhone photographers to capture dramatic fireworks shots.

But first, a quick primer on shooting fireworks with your iPhone.

There are a number of apps ideal for fireworks shooting, but a solid tripod trumps them all in importance when it comes to the fireworks genre.

We hold the smartphone out in front, arms extended, to view the screen. This increases the chance of blurry stills or video. Shooting fireworks this way will show you just how shaky the steadiest hands are. The rise and fall of our chest for a single breath can cause motion blur.

There are also certain camera settings you will want to disable, whether using a specific app or the iPhone’s native camera. Turn off the flash and HDR modes. The time-lapse setting is cool and Apple’s Live Photo is great at the moment of burst.

It’s about control, full manual control and a number of apps, be it Halide, Lightroom mobile and others let you determine settings like white balance, ISO and shutter speed.

iPhone fireworks photography with Pro Camera app

Moment's Pro Camera app gets Slow Shutter mode
Slow Shutter mode comes to the Pro Camera app in time for Fourth of July fireworks.
Photo: Moment

With the updated Pro Camera app, Slow Shutter mode functions in part like Bulb mode on a traditional camera. The shutter on a camera with manual controls remains open on Bulb for as long as the photographer holds their finger on the button.

The Moment app, which debuted earlier this year, has a Bulb setting and also lets shooters pre-select the length of time for the shutter to remain open. This is cool because a volley of blasts is captured from the moment of fire, its travel upward and the full burst.

The app even has a Light Trails mode, which is designed “to capture and blur the brightest objects in the frame, which means the brilliant points of light fireworks generate will create lights trails for the duration of the capture time,” according to an explanation by the app development team to Cult of Mac. “The 4-second mode is good for creating an image of one or two fireworks, while the 15- and 30-second options could easily fill your entire frame with a variety of light as a large fireworks show unfolds before your lens.”

Moment’s Pro app uses images stacking and blending to keep your shots properly exposed. All images are saved as a Live Photo to replay to grab either a single frame or a short video clip.

Halide offers similar control to Moment’s Pro Camera and the beauty of either is you don’t need to download a separate app just to capture the colorful trails of motion you find in fireworks photography.

Below, is a video by Moment – best known for its high-quality smartphone lens attachments –that demonstrates how Slow Shutter mode works. There are no fireworks examples in the video but users should be able to envision what the feature can do for fireworks photos.

Pro Camera is available to download on the App Store for $5.99. The Slow Shutter mode is not available for the Android version of Pro Camera.