How to Take Better Photos of Fireworks on IPhone

It’s not a July 4th celebration without fireworks, and it’s not a day after July 4th without an Instagram feed filled with horrific photos of people holding fireworks. Don’t be like these people. Follow these tips to take great fireworks photos with your iPhone.

This is all done in the basic iOS camera app, so open it up now.

Disable Flash

Turn off the flash completely first. It’s a lightning bolt icon in the top left corner when you’re in portrait mode, or in the bottom left / top right corner when you’re in landscape mode. Tap the lightning bolt, then tap Off.

Enable HDR

HDR or high dynamic range mode lets you quickly take three different shots with different exposures: normal exposure, darker exposure, and brighter exposure. It then combines them all into a single image that appears brighter and more detailed than any single exposure, which is useful in low light conditions (like fireworks).

To turn it on, open the Camera app, tap the HDR icon next to the flash icon, and select On. You are ready to shoot.

Use focus and exposure lock

When you hear a booming hum and see colors flashing, it’s time to get ready for your photo shoot. Point the camera at the bright display, then tap and hold an object (fireworks) on the iPhone screen. You should see a yellow square, and a couple of seconds later you should see AE / AF Lock, which means you’ve locked exposure and focus for whatever you’re shooting. Now you can take pictures without worrying about exposure and automatically adjust focus as the show progresses.

Adjust the exposure if necessary

If you’ve locked focus and exposure but think it looks too bright or too dark, you can change that. Press and hold the sun icon next to the yellow square on the screen, and then slide your finger up or down to adjust the exposure to your liking.

Shooting in Burst Mode

When you’re ready to shoot, aim for the beautiful blast and then hold the big white shutter button. You will take a lot of photos very quickly, which you can view later (there is a counter that shows how much you took while you are holding it). There must be at least one decent shot from each burst.

Remember to stay still for as long as possible while shooting!

Or take a video and then take a one-frame screenshot

If that sounds too much, there is an easier option: take a video of the fireworks and then take a nice shot later. Just take a video using the Camera app, then watch it full screen on your iPhone. When you see a shot you like, pause it, wait for the controls to disappear, and then press the Lock and Home buttons at the same time. Your photo of the fireworks will appear on your camera roll.


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