Taking photgraphs of fireworks is not as easy as point and click, there are many things to consider, such as perspective. A picture of a firework is always going to be cool – thats a given, they are fireworks after all – but it can be simple to make them even more cool by thinking about whats in the background or foreground. This often gives a picture more life and can really make a run-of-the-mill image into a great one. Take the picture above for example, without looking to closely at safety distances (it does look a bit too close to the buildings) the close proximity of the buildings makes the firework effect seem more alive and the colours more vivid, the reflection of the coloured light on the building makes this picture far more interesting than with just the firework alone.
The photograph above is very clever, as more than half of the image is taken up with foreground activity rather than just the fireworks. It would have been very easy for the photographer to zoom in on the effects and ignore what was happening in front of him (or in this case, below him) but by capturing the crowd and the stalls and, for want of a better word, the bandstand, in the middle left of the picture, he has brought a lot of action and energy to the picture. You can even see the flash of some of the crowds cameras and get a feel for the excitement of the occasion as well as the fireworks.
This is of course the Sydney Opera House in Sydney harbour, Australia. An iconic landmark, it would be foolish for the photographer to ignore it. However rather than it being the star attraction here, the reflection of the red and orange fireworks on the sky and more importantly on the harbour water creates a beautiful glow that completely takes your attention away from the fireworks. Indeed the fireworks become secondary to the light that they create.
OK, maybe we are cheating a little bit here, but they say the camera never lies. This is a close up of a log fire. But check out the awesome red waves of light and how they cause a fireworks-like effect. Only by zooming into the fire can these wavy lines fill teh shot as they do. So although its often nice to take a step back and capture more than just the effects, sometimes its good to get up close and personal to the fire and really enjoy the flames themselves. This is discussed in much more detail by the genius pyrotechnician Pierre Alain Hubert in his video interview where he talks about the philosophy of fireworks and how smaller is often greater.
Of course this is all just one mans ramblings on taking photographs and its up to you to be inspired and make your own memorable images. For helpful advice on getting started check out this cool article on hints and tips for photographing fireworks and Framing your Photographs. Now get snapping!