Photographed by Melli & Shayne

Story

Fireworks at a wedding can be a really wonderful thing to photograph. All the loud flashy explosions of light and color can really help you create some strong images. However, it is not always the easiest.

You may find that where the fireworks are and where the guests are standing is quite dark. This not only challenges you to get your exposure right but also to focus correctly. You may be able to manually focus while your camera is on a tripod but there’s a chance that your subject may even more out of frame. Since we chose to shoot this image handheld, we had to figure out a different means. That was timing. We had to wait until the fireworks lit up the sky, focus on our subjects and then fire away. This worked pretty darn well to be honest but we wouldn’t say its the “go to” method for capturing fireworks.

We could have opted to use a flash to light our subjects, but since we are not a big fan of images lit with a flash, especially outdoors, we relied entirely on the capability of our camera and it’s ISO performance. We also knew that when we came to edit this image, some pretty serious noise reduction would be needed. We concluded that it would be worth it.
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“Nothing was said :) “
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Composition

Center FramedWideFull Body

We saw our couple standing by the edge of the railing to watch the fireworks together and wanted to frame the whole image so the firework explosion filled the frame. We used our longer lens here to do just that. We also took this shot from behind, so we could include the couple entirely as well as some of their guests. It adds context to the frame by including the couple with the fireworks.
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When capturing fireworks, it can be a very tough situation to compose for as you have to wait and watch how they are being launched and exploding. If you’re not sure / confident, shoot wide. Take a wide lens, stand a bit back and try and capture your couple in the frame with the fireworks. It adds much more context as well as scale to the image.

Focusing

Single Point Focused on The couple Single Shot Autofocus
Focusing was definitely a challenge. We used our Single point autofocus since we could tell the camera to only lock on to one spot. This helped a lot since there was a lot of things the camera could have confused to focus on. We timed it right so that when a firework exploded, we had enough light for a brief moment to get our focus on point and hold there for the next chance. We also shot in burst mode, since this helps a lot.
Light & Weather

Artificial LightBack litDarkNightSparklersFire

Apart from the fireworks being the only source of light we had for this particular shot, we had only the very faint light from the venue behind us that helped.
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Equipment & EXIF

1/40 f/1.4 ISO 5000 WB Auto

Camera

Canon 5D Mark IV

Lens

Canon 35mm f/1.4 L II

Editing

Adobe Lightroom Classic M&S The Roots Presets

Software used:

 

As we shot this image with a ridiculously high ISO, we did have to apply quite a bit of noise reduction. It turned out just fine in the end, although quite smooth. Keep in mind though that a moment is more important to your couple than a perfectly sharp, crisp image. It’s the memories that they get from that photo that will make them happy, and not how “technically perfect” it is.
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This image was edited with

M&S The Roots Presets

Challenges & Solutions
The biggest challenge we had here was exposing and focusing. Since we didn’t want to only use flash (as we prefer the natural looking shots), we really had to push our cameras to their limits. We knew there would be extra work in lightroom but we didn’t let that stop us.

Location

Wedding / Event Venue Germany

LA VILLA am Starnberger See

LA VILLA am Starnberger See, Ferdinand-von-Miller-Straße, Pöcking

Final tips & Advice

Try and include your couple and / or guests in the shots you take of the fireworks. It not only adds context, but it also adds scale. It adds to that “Wow” factor of the fireworks.

Try move around your couple and shoot them very wide from behind, from above (if possible), even move in front of them and capture their reactions. Always be on your feet, and always check your exposure.
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Melli & Shayne

Photographer Germany Canon 5D Mark IV Canon 50mm f/1.2 L
We are Melli & Shayne, a couple coming from vastly different worlds but have been inseparable ever since we met in Zanzibar. We have been passionately capturing love stories since 2014 and have loved every step of the way. We love to meet fellow photographers, to share our knowledge amongst a bottle (or two) of wine and support every one wherever we can.
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Everyone fails. It’s how you take it that will separate you from the rest. Failure is a lesson. And knowledge is a win.

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