Simple steps to great fireworks photos

Who doesn’t love fireworks? But, as with most spectacular subjects, pictures of them often pale next to the real thing. One reason for failure, especially if you’re trying to capture them in a scenic location: Exposure problems. To freeze the bright pyrotechnic display, you need a faster shutter speed than you do to capture the ambiance, leaving you to choose between overexposed explosions or a nonexistent background.

A little compositing in Adobe Photoshop, and your pictures will be truer to the moment. When you’re shooting, just make sure to take one exposure that makes the background look good; the rest of the time, set your camera to manual and concentrate on the fireworks display.

Click here for tutorial steps.

More of Debbie Grossman’s Photoshop tutorials can be found in the Digital Toolbox archive.

For even more Fireworks shooting tips, check this out!

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Big Bang*Before*

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Big Bang2. Now go to Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color. Leave the default options, and click OK. This will bring up the Color Picker again. Since the color you selected in Step 1 will be already chosen for you, just click OK again.

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Big Bang4. Now for the fireworks. Open a picture of one of your favorite explosions first. Type L to get the Lasso tool, and, in the Options Bar, set the Feather to around 12. Now draw a rough loop around the firework that you want to bring in.

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Big Bang5. Type V to get the Move tool, and drag that blast right onto your base image. Photoshop will automatically create a new layer for it.

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Big Bang*After*