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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.

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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 20, 2018

                        How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

                        How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

                        Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

                        If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

                        1. Breathe

                        The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

                        • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
                        • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
                        • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

                        Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

                        2. Loosen up

                        After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

                        Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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                        3. Chew slowly

                        Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

                        Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

                        Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

                        4. Let go

                        Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

                        The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

                        It’s not. Promise.

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                        Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

                        Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

                        21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

                        5. Enjoy the journey

                        Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

                        Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

                        6. Look at the big picture

                        The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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                        Will this matter to me…

                        • Next week?
                        • Next month?
                        • Next year?
                        • In 10 years?

                        Hint: No, it won’t.

                        I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

                        Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

                        7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

                        You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

                        Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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                        8. Practice patience every day

                        Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

                        • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
                        • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
                        • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

                        Final thoughts

                        Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

                        Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

                        Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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