How to photograph fireworks

For best results, avoid artificial light and use a tripod when photographing fireworks. Photo: David Hepworth/Flickr

With the 4th of July rapidly approaching and all eyes set to be directed to the skies for fireworks shows nationwide, the ultimate question facing most spectators is how to best remember the spectacle.

That always leads back to the question of the best way to photograph fireworks, a skill that can elude even the best photographers on a dark night.

According to Ken Colburn of, there are a few simple things you can do to capture great photographs of fireworks and pyrotechnics. The tips include:

  • Use a tripod. A steady hand probably isn't good enough to really capture fireworks, so use something to stabilize your camera.
  • Don't use your flash. It'll wash out the colors on the dark, nighttime background.
  • Try shooting in a low light or nighttime mode on your camera.
  • Avoid any sources of artificial light nearby, such as car headlights or street lamps.

For more tips, check out

The annual fireworks show on the National Mall is set to get started just after 9 p.m. Thursday. The fireworks will be launched from an area near the reflecting pool and can be seen from numerous spots around the Mall and downtown D.C.