Tips

Baby, you’re a firework! And here’s how I shot you with my iPhone. ;)

July 2, 2017

Above photo updated July 4, 2017

Hey, guys, if, like me, you’re taking your iPhone with you to the fireworks this 4th of July, I thought I’d share how I shot and processed these last year and will be again this year. We’re already traveling light so, until we get to the editing (which will take me 30 seconds in Adobe’s Aviary app) all we need to keep in mind is:

1. Get as close as we can. You’ll probably be trying to do this anyway but the closer you are the more light from the fireworks you’ll have which makes shooting at night with your iPhone even better. Regular Photo Mode is usually best for shooting at night and don’t forget to turn your camera vertical for some of those stratosphere reaching fireworks so that you can get it all in.

2. Use Burst Mode (which is holding the shutter button down so that it will fire 10 images per second.) Fireworks are perfect for this feature on your phone and will allow you to choose a perfectly timed photo for editing later.

3. Because fireworks are all over the place, letting the phone autofocus is probably your best bet, however,  if you don’t think it’s focusing where you want then click and hold until you get the yellow blinking box (which will lock your focus where you want). Keep in mind though, that where ever you see that box, that is where the camera is focused (on all your future photos) until you click off of it.

4. You always want to keep your camera steady when shooting but in low light situations, or at night, it’s even more important, so if you can rest your elbows on someone’s shoulders, or lean on something, or even take an iPhone tripod it can be really helpful. I take a few practice shots in the beginning but tend to wait until the finale for most of my shots. That way I get to enjoy the fireworks, and also it’s when there is the most/best light for my camera. Win, win!

Also, if you use Lightroom Mobile, you can set its built-in camera to Pro Mode and set your shutter speed to 1/4 seconds to capture those long fireworks trails (like you would with a DSLR).

P.S. You’ll be tempted to pinch zoom to get in closer — Ack! Don’t do it. Waving giant, grainy, falling apart, flag here. Hahaha! Just crop it in later — you’ll be glad you did.



Have a safe and fun 4th of July everyone, and I’ll see you back here next week! 😃

How I processed these shots in Aviary.

  1. Shot as verticals and Cropped to 3:4
  2. Under Enhance, Scenery then hit Apply.
  3.  Under Adjust, Shadows -35, hit ✔️ then Vibrance 14, hit ✔️
  4. Under Effects (Here’s where it gets awesome) Fireworks! Choose your favorite or the one that closely matches the shot you took and brings it back to what you saw when you were there. I didn’t usually go more than 21% on any of these images but what you do is up to you.

You Might Also Like

9 Comments

  • Reply Lynnie July 2, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    Some very good advice here my friend. 🤠

    • Reply kalebrakelby July 2, 2017 at 3:22 pm

      Thank you, Lynnie! Have a great weekend!!

  • Reply Clinton Ferrara July 2, 2017 at 4:39 pm

    Excellent info. I hope I get to try it out. I need an iPhone tripod of some sort.

    • Reply kalebrakelby July 2, 2017 at 5:21 pm

      Thank you, Clinton. I’ll ask around and see if someone can recommend one. I might be looking myself. Your curiosity is making me curious. Hahaha!

      • Reply Clinton Ferrara July 2, 2017 at 6:09 pm

        Larry might have a home made substitute. Ha. He’s good at that stuff.

  • Reply Peter July 5, 2017 at 7:21 am

    Can you please describe how you set Lightroom mobile camera to shoot at 3 seconds in pro mode. For me it seems like the longest shutter speed setting is 1/4 seconds. Thanks.

    • Reply kalebrakelby July 5, 2017 at 10:42 am

      Thank you so much for bringing that up, Peter, I hope it didn’t drive you nuts last night. Apparently, I typed in some bad copy and didn’t catch it — Ack! I do apologize, and I have gone back and corrected it for the future. Happy ( the day after) the fourth! 😉

      • Reply Peter Langer July 5, 2017 at 1:21 pm

        Thanks for the reply. It was driving me nuts. I will now stop my quest to figure it out.

        • Reply kalebrakelby July 5, 2017 at 1:34 pm

          Thank you for being so gracious. Have a lovely day.

    Leave a Reply