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How to Take Great Photos of Fireworks - with Your Phone!

You might say, “Aww…I bet I'll need a crazy expensive camera just to take high quality photos!" Well, save your rent money because your smartphone may have all you need.

What Makes A Good Firework Photo

You're sitting on a beach amongst loved ones and friends on July 4th. The sun sets as you wait in anticipation for the main event.

BOOM! The beautiful firework show has begun.

You hurriedly pull your phone out to take a photo of this awesome event. But when you look at your photos, they appear to be blurry and not all that appealing. Memories are ruined when photos are not captured as we see them in real time. A good firework photo should be bright, colorful, and displays the beauty of its illumination and design. The vibrant colors of the fireworks with the contrast of a dark night sky makes for a beautiful photo. Achieving this can be easier than you think!

You might say, “Aww…I bet I'll need a crazy expensive camera just to take high quality photos!" Well, save your rent money because your smartphone may have all you need.

Tips and Tricks

Know your camera settings

The camera on your phone is far more advanced today than may realize. It's a good idea to familiarize yourself with it's settings. Once you know where a few key settings are (like setting the exposure) you'll be taking beautiful night sky photography with the confidence of a pro.

Camera settings on iPhone camera app.
On iPhone, tap the arrow at the top or swipe up from the bottom to access camera controls.

Check your exposure

A key tip to ensure that your photo comes out spectacular is making sure your exposure on your camera is low, which can block out any extra lighting that can cause the fireworks not to show up clearly.

Use HDR

Phones with a 4K resolution or HDR camera option are also options that should be taken advantage of for their high-quality display. This allows you to be able to capture a larger display without worrying about scrambling to catch the picture.

OIS and EIS

While OIS and EIS have the same purpose, their execution is starkly different. In OIS, the stabilization is baked into the optics of the camera module. Without getting too technical, the lens move around the camera module and reduces shakiness and jerks.

EIS does the same thing but with the help image post-processing. While it gets the job, the stabilization is nowhere as good as OIS.

You can go into Camera settings on your Android devices and make sure that OIS/EIS has been turned on.

Stabilize your phone

The most important part of taking firework photos with your smartphone is making sure your phone is stabilized. Using a tripod is the most surefire way to do this. Fortunately, tripods are highly affordable and come in a wide variety of sizes to fit any photographers needs.

Smartphone on tripod taking photos of city lights.
A tripod is perfect for photos with a slow shutter speed.

Burst shots

Burst Mode captures multiple images quickly. One shot may not get you the desired image. In this case, you can fire the shoot button, and take rapid shots – multiple photos in single that you can later review and delete. Shooting in burst lets you find the perfect “swoon-worthy” photos from the many photos you capture. All the images are grouped into a single folder with a thumbnail for each. Burst Mode notably captures images at the highest resolution allowed on your mobile device, unlike other continuous photo modes such as Apple's Live Photos or Android's Motion Photos.

So, your phone doesn't have any of the smarty pants, technology stuff, right? Fear not, we have just the right apps for you.

  • Slow Shutter Cam
  • Stabilized Night Camera
  • Shutter Stop
  • Camera + 2
  • Pro Camera

Some smartphones don't allow long exposure, which is almost crucial in getting your firework photos award worthy. If you're a part of the IOS team, you're in luck. Apps such as Slow Shutter Cam (most popular on IOS), Stabilized Night Camera, and Shutter Stop are low budget apps that offer great nighttime photos with easy interfaces that almost anyone can use.

If you are looking for higher quality apps and don't mind going into your wallet, iOS also offers Camera + 2 and Pro Camera, which come with more advanced and complex settings for more detail.

  • Snap Camera HDR
  • ProShot
  • Camera FV-5
  • A Better Camera
  • Open Camera
  • VSCO

Android users are not left behind with apps like Snap Camera HDR, ProShot, Camera FV-5(more expensive and offer burst, panorama, and HDR modes) and A Better Camera, Open Camera, and VSCO.

Whichever option you choose, there are plenty of apps that cater to your particular photography style. A lot of these apps bundle different features all into one. Android and iOS both offer a large selection of photography apps that will set your fireworks photos on fire.

Photo Print Ideas

So, you've set your smartphone camera up, downloaded your preferred app, and took the most jaw-dropping photos. You can't just keep these photos to yourself!

You HAVE to get them printed out to have on display in your home for when that neighbor who you're always in competition with comes over! However, you haven't decided what kind of print you want- metal, acrylic, or canvas.

Good news! It's entirely up to you as the photographer, depending on what results you want to achieve. Due to the nature of a firework photo, with its high contrast colors and nighttime scene, a metal print would be a great fit.

Metal Prints

Metal prints are good if you're looking for a more sleek and expensive-looking photo. Metal prints are covered with a coat that makes photos with bright contrasts pop. However, these prints can be more expensive than other prints such as canvas or acrylic. They also happen to be more durable, scratch-proof, and easier to clean than other choices. Photos printed on metal prints turn out crisp and detailed with a brilliant level of contrast, as metal prints offer high whites and deep blacks. So, photos of fireworks turn out absolutely bonkers on metal prints.

Metal print of fireworks in a room interior.
Metal prints give a luster that makes the colors in your fireworks photos pop.

Acrylic Prints

Acrylic prints may also be a good option if you plan to hang your photo up in your office, or in a place of business, this may be the choice for you. Acrylic prints offer a more modern look that will catch the eye of any onlookers. Acrylic prints have the same color quality as metal prints but have a glossier feel because the acrylic covers the print, giving it additional depth and richness.

Acrylic print of fireworks hanging on wall in a home interior.
Acrylic prints have a sleek & vibrant look that perfectly captures the details of the fireworks.

Canvas Prints

Many people prefer the classic look of a canvas print. These prints are usually the best in terms of being economical, and are extremely easy to style with any existing décor. Due to it's thickness, a canvas print can be displayed as-is and does not need to be framed to look good, making them a flexible décor solution. Position them in whatever way you see fit, and they will continue to look fantastic for years.

It all depends ultimately on what look you're going for, and where you plan to display your photo when it's finalized.

Canvas print of fireworks hanging over desktop.
Canvas prints offer a classic look that works well with any photos.

Don't Forget to Enjoy The Festivities

While it's good to take nice photos that will last, what matters most is the real memories you make by living in the moment. Spending time with friends and family is the most important part in anything you do.

Any photos you take do not mean more than the real people that are in your life. Fireworks will always be spectacular to look at, and very beautiful works of art that most people most likely would like to take their own photos.

Why Choose Canvas on Demand for Your Photo Prints?

If you do decide to take your own photos, you can print them easily with Canvas on Demand. We encourage you to spend your time enjoying life and making each moment count. If you take any photos over the weekend, use the advice in this article to take whatever photos you may want to take, and print them out to have a little piece of your life in your hands. Wherever you are, and whoever you're with, make your memories last as long as you can!


Since 2003, Canvas On Demand has been crafting affordable, high quality, personalized home goods that celebrate life's moments, both big and small, through the permanence of print.

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