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10 Tips For Taking Better Photos Of Fireworks On Your iPhone

10 Tips For Taking Better Photos Of Fireworks On Your iPhone

There’s no denying the beauty of fireworks. However, despite the increasing quality of smartphone cameras, it can still be difficult to get decent shots of fireworks.

If you want your Bonfire Night pictures to stand out on social media this year, follow these 10 tips and tricks…

1. HDR Mode or No HDR Mode?

HDR mode on the iPhone stands for High Dynamic Range imaging. This function controls the ratio of light to dark in a photograph, by taking multiple photos at different exposures. The result is considered a ‘truer’ image – the one that your eyes see instead of what the camera sees.

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    The above photo wasn’t taken on a smartphone but is a pretty good example of what HDR mode does – Source

    HDR mode is especially good for landscapes, sunny portraits, and low-light scenes, which is why some photographers would recommend it for fireworks.

    However, because HDR takes multiple images, it’s not very good at shooting movement.

    The best way is to try and see for yourself. Try using HDR mode and if it’s not working for you, just turn it off!

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    2. Exposure/Focus Lock

    When in camera mode, you click anywhere on your iPhone screen to focus on a particular area or subject. Holding down will cause that focus to lock, allowing you to recompose the image without losing focus (a yellow box will appear with “AE/AF LOCK”).

    iphone-camera-features-15

      This also locks the exposure – the lightness/darkness of your photo – which can be particularly helpful when photographing fireworks.

      For example, once the firework display has begun, you’ll get a good idea about where the fireworks are going to be positioned in the sky. So during the first few fireworks, hold down to lock your focus and exposure, and you’ll be prepared fro when the next fireworks go off – and get the perfect shot!

      To unlock focus and exposure, simply tap anywhere on the screen.

      3. Burst Mode

      When you hold the shutter down you can take a burst of photos (10 per second), making it easier to capture the perfect motion shot.

      photo-sequence

        Once you’ve shot a burst of images, you can go back and choose the best photos, deleting the rest.

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        4. AVOID Flash

        The flash is designed to illuminate objects a few meters away from you. As the fireworks will be many meters above your head so it’s absolutely pointless to use the flash.

        flash-photo

          You’ll just end up annoying everyone around you, and you may inadvertently see ‘ghost light’ in your photos.

          5. Use a Tripod

          To take clear photos of fireworks, you need to avoid camera shake – which is why a tripod is advised.

          pexels-photo-73082

            It doesn’t have to be big or expensive – but it does need an iPhone mount and good stability (you don’t want it falling over!).

            Alternatively, you can use any flat surface to stabilize your camera and avoid blur. Try using the timer function so you can remove your hands for even more stability.

            6. AVOID Zoom

            The zoom feature on your iPhone essentially just blows up the image instead of actually taking you closer to the subject you’re shooting.

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              This will lead to distorted images – especially at nighttime.

              7. Location

              Think about where you position yourself. Often, we think that the closer to the fireworks the better – but this just forces you to strain your neck as you look up, and isn’t a very good angle for taking photos.

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                Consider standing further back, and see what other interesting objects you can include in your photos to add interest and context.

                8. Long Exposure

                Slow Shutter Cam and LongExpo are two examples of apps that allow you to take long exposure photographs on your iPhone. When using this effect on fireworks, you can create some really cool effects which make your photos stand out.

                love-957023_1280

                  Tip: Use a slow shutter speed when playing with sparklers – try writing words and drawing shapes and see what cool effects you can create. This is also a great game to play with your children to keep them entertained while they are waiting.

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                  9. Composition

                  Almost everyone takes the same composed shots of fireworks – pointing their iPhone at the sky and isolating the fireworks. Guilty? I know I am!

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                    This year, try instead to think a bit more creatively – experiment with different angles and viewpoints to really make your photos stand out from everyone else’s. The photo above works really well because it sets the scene (fireworks with the children) in a creative and more visually interesting way.

                    10. Take Lots of Photos…

                    raw

                      …but also enjoy the moment. A firework display is usually 15-30 minutes long, depending on the size of the event. You know that the most spectacular fireworks will be in the last 5-10 minutes of the display.

                      With that in mind, I tend to spend the first 5-10 minutes simply enjoying the show before taking any photos. This not only allows me to feel less guilty about watching the rest of the show through my iPhone screen, but it also means I can take in the atmosphere and emotions and try to work them into my photos.

                      Tip: Remember, if you’ve tried taking multiple photos and it’s not working – change your settings or position. You don’t have the time to waste on a set-up that isn’t producing results, so just move on until you find something you’re happy with.

                      11. [Bonus] Print Your Photos!

                      Now that you’ve mastered the art of shooting fireworks, consider printing your photographs to create lasting memories. POP BOOK is a great app for this – allowing you to create mini photo books straight from your camera roll!

                      photo-1453329180519-b4dba097ed5b

                        Featured photo credit: ComputerHotline Soirée tricolore, Aspach-le-Haut, Aspach-Michelbach, 16 July 2016 via photopin (license)

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                        Last Updated on September 16, 2019

                        How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

                        How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

                        You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

                        We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

                        The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

                        Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

                        1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

                        Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

                        For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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                        • (1) Research
                        • (2) Deciding the topic
                        • (3) Creating the outline
                        • (4) Drafting the content
                        • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
                        • (6) Revision
                        • (7) etc.

                        Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

                        2. Change Your Environment

                        Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

                        One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

                        3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

                        Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

                        Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

                        My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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                        Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

                        4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

                        If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

                        Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

                        I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

                        5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

                        I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

                        Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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                        As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

                        6. Get a Buddy

                        Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

                        I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

                        7. Tell Others About Your Goals

                        This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

                        For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

                        8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

                        What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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                        9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

                        If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

                        Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

                        10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

                        Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

                        Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

                        11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

                        At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

                        Reality check:

                        I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

                        More About Procrastination

                        Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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