Location as important as technique when shooting fireworks

Fireworks by Mr Magoo ICUJuly 4th is just around the corner and with that comes another opportunity to get that classic fireworks shot you’ve always dreamed of. We’ve already covered the techniques you need to know and equipment necessary to shoot fireworks well. The methods are the same as last year. But an important point to keep in mind is that vantage point and location (especially secret locations like the one in the photo at right) are just as important as technique.

First of all, you need to find the right show. There will probably be more than one in your area and they will vary in quality. Do a little research, call around, read a review of last year’s performance and find a great fireworks show to attend. Find photos from that event to see where the pyrotechnics were exploding and where they were launched from.

Next, scope out the location. Go there well before the 4th to check it out. Using your research, find a good vantage point taking into account both foreground and background scenery. Remember, it will be dark during the actual show. Distractions (electrical wires, poles, etc.) in the daytime may not be visible at night. And a line of drab buildings in the daytime can become a vibrant and beautiful backdrop. If you can arrange it, try to get above the crowd. Rooftops are great places to shoot fireworks from.

On the day of the event, show up early and claim your spot. Bring spare batteries, memory cards and a flashlight. The flashlight can come in handy, but of course you’ve already practiced changing memory and batteries in the dark, right? Double check your camera settings. Oh, and don’t forget to enjoy the show!

Photo credit: Mr Magoo ICU.

By John Watson

John Watson is the original founder of Photodoto. If you're interested in what John has been up to, you can browse his personal blog.


  1. In the original technique article and this article on location, a very important topic went unmentioned. When considering location for fireworks, check the wind direction and make sure you are not downwind where the smoke will quickly become thick and ruin any chance at shooting the finale at a minimum and possibly most of the show.

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