How to Photograph Fireworks – Walt Disney World

Capturing fireworks photos at Disney World or your front yard on July 4th is easier than you think!

You just need to follow a few simple steps to capture incredible images!

How to Photograph Fireworks

  • Set your camera on a tripod.  You need a very stable base for your camera during long exposures.
  • Set your camera to manual so you can dial in the settings below.
  • Set your ISO to the lowest setting, usually around 200.
  • Set your aperture in the range of F8-F11.
  • Set your shutter speed to the bulb.  Bulb mode allows you to press and hold the shutter release button to keep the shutter open.  You’ll want to leave it open a few seconds and check the display to see if you need longer or shorter times.  If your camera doesn’t have bulb, use a 5 or 10 seconds.
  • Set the focus to manual and move the focus ring to infinity.  This will give you maximum depth of field.
  • If possible use a cable release or remote shutter so that you don’t have to touch the camera during the open shutter.

This photo was captured by Brooke! Nine years old at the time! You can do this too!

Now start shooting!

Watch the back of the camera to see how the images are looking.

If you want to combine more bursts you can increase the aperture to F14 or higher.  This will allow you to leave the shutter open even longer.  If you want to go for extremely long shutter speeds you can try adding a neutral density filter.  This will restrict the light even more coming into the camera.

The best fireworks photos show more than just the bursts.  An image of just a burst in the sky is cool, but an image showing the bursts with other elements is much more compelling!  In WDW it’s easy to find elements to include in your shot such as the Castle!  But at July 4th or other times look for creative angles for better compositions.

Walt Disney World Firework Photography Tips

Here are a few tips for your next trip to WDW.

  1. You MUST have a tripod!  Get a locker first thing in the morning and store it, then come back for it before the show.  But you have to use a tripod to get fireworks photos.
  2. Location – For your first time shooting Wishes be on Main Street.  But then look for other locations!  Be creative and look for alternative spots!
  3. If you aren’t familiar with the shows watch them on Youtube!  For me I know Wishes almost by heart and can say the script in my head as the show progresses.  Watch the online videos to see when some of the burst combinations happen.
  4. Invest in a remote trigger.
  5. But even with a remote trigger on Main Street, never take your hand off your tripod!  There is just too much traffic!  I’ve learned this the hard way!  I luckily caught the tripod and camera on the way down after someone knocked it!  Be wary and hold on tight!

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