fireworks photo on your phone

Tips for getting the perfect fireworks photo on your phone

This week, millions of Americas will celebrate July 4th with BBQs, beach trips and of course, fireworks. But capturing these stunning aerial displays can be a true test of one’s photography skills. With a little practice and quick adjustments to your phone’s settings, you can make sure you’ve got the most Instagram-worthy photos of the holiday.

Having a phone with a high-quality camera – like the Pixel 2 by Google or Samsung Galaxy S9 – is just the first step.

Below are a few tips and tricks from Verizon we thought you might find helpful during the celebrations this week.

fireworks photo on your phone

  1. Get there early to grab the best spot. Before the light show begins, it’s best to scout out the location for the optimal vantage point. You should also think about the foreground and background elements of the location and how you might want to incorporate them and take a few test shots when things start to get dark. Once the fireworks start, you’ll be ready to go!
  2. Use a selfie stick. A Bluetooth controlled selfie stick makes it easy to remotely activate your phone shutter at the best height and speed for the show. A tripod is also a great tool to help keep your phone level during long exposures in low light conditions where every shake and tremor can ruin the shot. 
  3. Slow down your shutter speed. Photographing fireworks requires long exposures. If your phone has a manual shooting mode, turn down the ISO setting to around 100 and adjust the shutter time anywhere from 1 second up to 30 seconds. Don’t want to mess around with manual mode? Check out the Camera FV-5 app.
  4. Use the pre-set “Modes” on your phone:
  • Fireworks Mode: If your Android camera supports Fireworks or Night mode, it’s always good and advisable to use it to improve the photo quality. Keeping Fireworks/Night mode ON makes the job much easier.
  • Landscape Mode: A phone’s camera automatically tries to find an object on which to focus but when looking at a black sky, things can get tricky and the camera doesn’t know where to focus. In “landscape” mode, you’ll be pre-setting the focus to infinity and narrowing the lens opening, which keeps both near and far objects in focus.
  • Burst Mode: Most Android phones come equipped with this handy feature. Using Burst mode captures a series of photos of the fireworks explosion rapidly, which allows you to select the best photo out of multiple photos captured simultaneously.
  1. Don’t zoom in. ” Using zoom on your phone while capturing photos crops and enlarges the photo, which results in a lack of sharpness. It makes the photo grainier or pixelated with low resolution.
  2. Turn off the light. To get the best shot, you should also turn off your flash and HDR. By turning your flash off, the camera will have only the available light to capture a picture, thus resulting in better quality.
  3. Don’t be afraid to use an app. Apps such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO have easy-to-use editing tools and features outside of the staple Instagram filters that can ensure your best pics really pop.


Thanks to Verizon for passing along these helpful tips. If you try to use these steps please share with us your results over on your favorite social network! Be sure to tag Joshua Bane and Verizon.

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