There are a few times, every year, when you know that social media is going to ablaze with photos: Christmas, spring break, and, not least of all, the Fourth of July. You probably know the feeling of scrolling and scrolling through your friends’ posts seeing a black sky with some blurry color that may or may not be fireworks or a sparkler. Maybe you’ll also see some haphazardly composed, PBR-influenced BBQ’s as well. This Fourth of July, Lumoid is here to help out by providing you a few perspectives for our country’s 240th birthday as well as some great gear recommendations to help you capture your vision.
Don’t forget the mise en scene
Fireworks, by themselves, are pretty spectacular. These airborne explosives light up the night in choreographed celebrations. But if you’re just snapping photos of these color explosions against a dark sky, your photos will blend into everyone else’s. Instead, try to add some context to your shots. Capture the feeling of celebration by including the crowd, give a sense of place by including the backdrop, and do the same with your foreground. Fireworks over Philly or Washington, DC are more eye catching than fireworks that could be anywhere.
Pro-Tip: Don’t be afraid of post-processing here to make sure your shots come out exposed properly. Remember to shoot in RAW and don’t get discouraged if your shots look too dark on your viewfinder.
Alright. There you are. Sitting in the grass of San Francisco’s Alamo Square Park, eagerly anticipating the show when a wave of dread washes over you and your American flag cladded Bud Light: you remembered your quick shutter speed, but forgot to check Lumoid for the best gear to get. Thankfully, you’re reading this right now and we can help.
Let’s make this quick…
- Try using a wide angle lens that you’d use for landscape photography. 17mm to 24mm should do the trick. This will help you capture your surroundings as well as the fireworks themselves.
- If you want super crisp firework shots and want to ignore our advice of capturing some mise en scene, we won’t stop you! Grab that 100mm+ telephoto lens and shoot away!
- Read this article from Canon for more detail than we can fit here. Of particular note, check out how to capture more than one firework per shot.
Don’t forget the food
If you’re a foodie, the Fourth is a wonderful time to be alive. Not only are there juicy burgers and colorful cupcakes, but there’s enough patriotic set dressing to keep you busy for hours. Head to that BBQ with a macro lens or two and get shooting. Use a shallow depth of field for an all-American, red-white-and-blue flagged background. Head over to the grill to get in on the smoking, cooking action. Catch the light just right on your hot dog’s ketchup. The Fourth may not have the fanciest of feasts, but there’s no denying that this food has character – especially that patriotic cupcake from Safeway that’s going to dye your mouth blue for the rest of the day.