I would hazard to guess that maybe as soon as Saturday morning they will start to fill up your newsfeed on your favorite social media sites. What is "they"? "They" would be the countless hundreds of blurry, out of focus, totally disappointing photos of fireworks that your friends and family have snapped as they hoped to capture the majesty of colorful explosions in the air.

I found a lot of the suggestions that have helped me take better photos on the iMore website. You can read their list of suggestions right here.

I am not a professional photographer. In fact, most of my pictures are like your pictures they are at best mundane. But with a few helpful hints, you might be able to get a snap that's not only worthy of a post on your social media but could even be suitable for framing.

Sean Gallup, Getty Images

It all starts with understanding your camera. Also known as your phone. Look, if you've invested hundreds of dollars in a good camera for nights like the Fourth of July then you probably are already aware of the challenges of photographing bright light images moving quickly across a dark background.

Trust me, with just a little effort and planning you could have some award-winning photos and or videos of any fireworks display you might attend. By the way, a lot of these helpful hints will work on Christmas light photography too.

Understand Your Background

Spenser Sembrat via Unsplash.com

Granted for most fireworks displays the background will be the nighttime sky. But you want to consider a few other factors too. For example, will your photo offer the best perspective of the fireworks if there is a reflection off of nearby water? Are there other light sources from streetlights or buildings that could foil the clarity of your photo? The best pictures always start with the proper background.

Have You Experimented with Night Mode?

Lewis Zhao via Unsplash.com

Night Mode is a feature on iPhones 11 and up, so if you have an older iPhone you want be able to take advantage of this feature. That's a shame because it really does make shooting in the dark a better proposition. Basically, Night Mode allows the shutter of your camera to stay open a little longer allowing more light in. That's a good thing. Cameras love light, that applies to all of your photo projects by the way.

Kill the Squigglys with a Tripod


One of the first things I learned about digital photography is that you really do need to hold the camera very still. Especially if you're photographing bright lights on a dark background. You probably have a few snaps in your collection where there is a light smear or a shaky line of light appearing around your intended object. Using a tripod not only steadies the camera but it allows you time to really set your shot. Preparation is a good thing.

Use Your Zoom Function to Improve Variety

Alexander Kagan via Unsplash.com

This is really a matter of taste. Do you want your pictures to show the depth and breadth of the scene at the fireworks display or do you want to capture the big burst of colors when the shell explodes in the nighttime sky? You can have both if you learn to understand your zoom. Again, the zoom feature really needs that steady tripod to allow you to get the best results. Now, if your shooting video, don't put us on a rollercoaster with you zooming in and out constantly. If I want to vomit because of bad photography I can rewatch the Blair Witch Project.

Rapid Fire Can Be Your Best Friend

Elisha Terada via Unsplash.com

The rapid-fire or burst function on your phone might be the biggest difference between a photo of fireworks that looks good and a photo of fireworks that look great. That's because you have the power of numbers on your side. The burst function takes several pictures in very quick succession. That will allow you to capture a wider range of the firework's explosion. Chances are you can find one snap out of the burst that really demonstrates the image you want to share with friends and family.

Don't Forget to Edit Your Photos

A lot of people, okay my Mom, posts pictures directly after taking them. What she doesn't realize is that with just a few more clicks on her phone that average photo can go to above average in a hurry. The iPhone photo editor does a nice job of allowing you the ability to really make your pictures pop. Even the "automatic" function will improve your shot. Don't be afraid to dive in and play. You won't lose your picture and you just might find a way to create something totally memorable in every photo that you take.

Now, if we can just keep the clouds and rain away, we might really have a great chance to get a lot of great fireworks photos and videos over this holiday weekend. Be safe and keep snapping.

Since we are talking about photos and patriotism, I thought you might enjoy perusing these great snaps. Proud to be an American, I am.

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