Lights, camera, action! 9 tips to help you take fireworks photos like a professional

CINCINNATI - If you're planning to train your camera on the night sky this Labor Day weekend, take note!

1. Set your camera to manual mode and turn off the flash. Use manual focus instead of auto focus.

2. Set the camera to ISO 100 or 200, aperture f/8 or f/11 and shutter speed at 1/2 second. Take test shots and, if necessary, adjust the shutter speed for the right exposure.

Using a smartphone to take your fireworks photos? Read this.

3. Some cameras have a bulb mode setting, which allows for shutter speeds seconds or even minutes long, which is useful for photographing fireworks and other lights against a dark sky.

3. Photographing at night requires long shutter speeds, which increases the likelihood for camera shake and blurriness. If possible, use a tripod, a cable release, or, if holding the camera, brace yourself against a hard surface for stability.

4. Using long exposures can quickly drain the battery so make sure yours is fully charged.

5. Avoid placing the fireworks in dead center of the frame.

6. Experiment with both wide and tight shots.

7. As the show progresses, the scene will get smokier. Shoot early to avoid this or incorporate that smoke into your composition.

8. Look for the fireworks reflecting off the river. Do not put the horizon line directly in the center of the frame.

9. Add crowds and other landmarks along with the fireworks into the photos, which will create a sense of place, scale and context.

Connect with WCPO Contributor Samantha Grier on Twitter: @sgrierfoto or visit her website !

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