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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.

hdr-photo-example

    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.

              photo-1455906876003-298dd8c44ec8

                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 March 13, 2019

                        How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                        How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                        Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

                        You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

                        Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

                        1. Work on the small tasks.

                        When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

                        Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

                        2. Take a break from your work desk.

                        Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

                        Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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                        3. Upgrade yourself

                        Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

                        The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

                        4. Talk to a friend.

                        Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

                        Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

                        5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

                        If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

                        Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

                        Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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                        6. Paint a vision to work towards.

                        If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

                        Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

                        Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

                        7. Read a book (or blog).

                        The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

                        Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

                        Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

                        8. Have a quick nap.

                        If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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                        9. Remember why you are doing this.

                        Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

                        What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

                        10. Find some competition.

                        Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

                        Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

                        11. Go exercise.

                        Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

                        Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

                        As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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                        Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

                        12. Take a good break.

                        Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

                        Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

                        Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

                        Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

                        More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

                        Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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