Tips on how to capture great pictures with your iPhone or Android

This year, more Americans might be eager to get out of the house and see fireworks in person, as states lift restrictions enacted during the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccinations are on the rise.

The easiest way to get a great firework picture: shoot a video. You’ll miss nothing. Then take a frame grab or screenshot of the best moment later if you want a still image. (This couldn’t be easier. Just pause the video, and the two top side buttons on recent iPhones, or power and volume button on recent Samsung Galaxy phones.)

Be all charged up and ready to go

Most smartphones are nearly dead at nighttime, after a full day’s use. So try and pick up get a second charge during dinner, or bring along an external battery pack, like a Mophie or Anker portable charger to the fireworks. They range from $50 to $100.

Pick your spot and stick with it

There’s a chance the fireworks scene you attend is crowded. Try to arrive early, and grab the best spot you can, ideally one with a wide view of the sky, sans distractions. Take some tests before deciding where to be.

Try burst mode

Fireworks are tough. They fly across your screen fast and are hard to capture. Who you gonna call? Burst mode, which lets you shoot multiple images in rapid succession.

To do this, slide the shutter button quickly to the left on recent iPhones and you’ll hear the shutter start to rapid fire. The same technique works on current Samsung Galaxy models.

Use time-lapse mode

Finally, if you want to be the coolest person on your block, try shooting the fireworks in time-lapse mode and watch the world fly by at super high speeds. You can’t do it without a tripod though. Mount the camera, click the timelapse button and let it roll the entire time. Amazon sells several smartphone tripods ranging between $15 and $25.

Not using a smartphone? Grab a tripod

If you’re shooting on a camera, photographer Rick Sammon, recommends using a tripod and a very slow shutter speed. His recipe: exposure at f/11 and shutter speed at 2 seconds to get the colors exploding in the sky.

And as always, take lots and lots of photos. Fireworks are fast, they explode in the sky and change colors instantly, and digital costs nothing, so shoot away. You can delete all the duds when you get home.


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