Fireworks Virgin

So I tried my hand for the first time at photographing fireworks and I thought I would share the results and how I achieved these results.

Firstly here in the UK we are fast approaching November 5th, known as Bonfire Night or Guy Fawkes Night, a celebration in the catching of Guy Fawkes trying to blow up the Houses of Parliament, also known as the Gun Powder Plot. So we celebrate this with Bonfires and firework displays.

Firstly I went to a large display, one that used very large fireworks. I got there 4 hours before the display was due to start to get a good spot ( turned out to be too close really ). Set up my equipment whilst it was still light. I focused my camera up on the point where they were launching the fireworks from, in this case it was a small island on a lake. Using a portrait format to give me as much of the vertical view as I could get. I made the choice on this to catch the upward motion in the shots, I guess you could easily have also gone for a landscape shot which would have worked and gave more horizontal scope. I chose to go with f/11 which gave me a wide DOF to maximise the chances of the explosions being in sharp focus. Of course the camera was set up on a tripod. I used a remote shutter release on Bulb setting and varied the exposures depending on how much action was going on, ranging from 5 to 10 seconds. I was quite pleased with the results and as I only did this on Sunday 31/10/10 thought I would try a couple of uploads out on here to see if they were good enough to get accepted, they were and here they are :-)

Fireworks, Lasers and Smoke

Fireworks show

The second of the images is a small montage, easy to do in photoshop by copying the exploding firework and using the screen option to add it to a black background, this way you can use several different shots in one big shot.

Now to decide on how many images to look at creating, we of course do not want too any as this will fairly result in rejections due to too many from the same series. I will probably look at a couple more plus a huge firework montage, pretty much the whole 30 min display in one shot. I would be more than happy to receive any further advice or ideas. Happy Shooting :-)


Photo credits: Brett Critchley.
Brett Critchley
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  • BCritchley
  • Tywyn, Wales, United Kingdom
I am one of the remote editors for Dreamstime.

Multi-international award winning photographer based in the UK.
Major awards and credits:
The Official Eurofighter International Aviation photographer of the year 2015, 1st place, best digitally enhanced image.
The Official Eurofighter International Aviation photographer of the year 2014 2nd place win.
International award winner at the Royal Horticultural Society's photography awards 2013, 1st place in Seasons and 3rd place in the wildlife category.
May/June 2013 Dreamstime assignment 2nd place winner "Security and protection"
Nov/Dec 2012 Dreamstime assignment 1st place winner "going mobile".
National Geographic November 2011.
Virgin Travel 2011.
The National Countryside Photograph of the Year Awards 2011, award presented by HRH The Prince of Wales at St James Palace, London on 6th July 2011.
Cover, Shropshire Life magazine
June 2011.
Short listed finalist in The Great British Photography Awards 2010.

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July 06, 2011

am going to try next year --my new tripod did not come and other broken. Thanks for the advice. Great pics!


January 16, 2011

Hi Brett

Been searching for your email, nothing! I am organising an exhibition(s) which will feature the 10 Shropshire Life finalists, please drop me a line. stephen dot haxby at business-proposals dot co dot uk

Brilliant photography Brett




December 08, 2010

Many many thanks :-)



December 07, 2010

Nice shots!


November 22, 2010

Wonderful results.


November 04, 2010

Fantastic results - thanks for the technical details!


November 04, 2010

Fantastic fireworks! Bravo!


November 04, 2010

Nice! Thank you for posting this article. Next summer, in Montreal, I plan to photograph fireworks at the annual Benson & Hedges International Fireworks Exposition. Post more info about tricks and techniques as you learn, please. Thanks!


November 03, 2010

Great images!


November 03, 2010

Your images look great.


November 03, 2010

Happy Shooting too! Great photos!