Every year, countries from around the world come to Ottawa to compete in the fireworks show, the Casino du Lac-Leamy Sound and Light competition. It’s a spectacular summer event with beautiful fireworks lighting up the sky paired with music. I remember when I was a little kid, waiting three hours in advance before a show to get the best viewing seats as my dad was the keen photographer in the family back then. Since then, I have joined the ranks of photography, and I love to challenge myself on these mini photoshoots I do with friends around the city.

For this shoot, the challenge was to get nice firework shots but with a subject in the foreground. It took a bit of fiddling but I think we managed a few great shots amidst a bunch of blurry trial and error ones. You can view the behind-the-scenes of our shoot below!

There are many locations to shoot from when viewing fireworks but my favourites are where you can see the light reflections in water. I think it provides great interest to the photos but also increase illumination which will be your friend when shooting in such low-light conditions. Read on for my tips on shooting fireworks and some of the final images!

General tips for shooting fireworks
  • Tripod is your best friend (best way to gain stability in photos)
  • Bulb setting paired with a bulb release cable
  • F8 or greater (for those light arrays)
  • Manual focus (auto focusing will be too slow once the fireworks start flying!)
Tips for shooting fireworks WITH a subject
  • Focus on the subject, allow the fireworks to be the backdrop
  • Have your subject stand as still as possible (engage that core!)
  • Illuminate the face (I used fairy lights to bring back the magical vibes)
  • Silhouetted shots are popular and easy

Be sure to check out the rest of the photo crew: @jppham87, @luckyluant, @rylanhempell; show them some love!

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