View Full Version : my firework pictures don't look nice... =[

04-16-2006, 05:57 PM

I have a bunch of firework pictures taken from the local casino's annual fireworks competition, and while they were nice when i just started to get into digital photography, they don't look as nice anymore after looking at more and more digital pictures. The only thing I did was set my Canon A75 to M (manual) and set the shutter speed to 4 second exposure and came up with these:

http://img228.imageshack.us/img228/6122/img72888uc.th.jpg (http://img228.imageshack.us/my.php?image=img72888uc.jpg)http://img526.imageshack.us/img526/8441/img68415jv.th.jpg (http://img526.imageshack.us/my.php?image=img68415jv.jpg)

Are there anyway I could improve these photos with a software? Also the competition is coming back this July-August so I want to be ready to take better pictures. What are some things one my advice or suggest I do with my settings for better pics? Thanks in advance for your valuable feedback.

04-16-2006, 09:35 PM
By the why, just to let you know you used a 2 second exposure and F8.0. I would say go with a faster exposure. The pics I took where at 1/8th second with my old canon A60. I like your photos, they are unique with a longer exposure. I would say try going with 1 second - 1/10th second at F5.0 if you wan't a different look.





04-16-2006, 10:09 PM
may I suggest the diffuser filter, instead?

The diffuser will spread the concentrated light softly out... reducing contrast and making for a wider, fuller look to each explosion of color. As you can see, the 6-pt star has little if any effect on the spreadout light. They work best with spot lights, as you can see with the effect on the streetlight.

Those spotlights/streetlights also distract from the fireworks display. With the star filter, they appear to be exploding better than the gunpowder! To improve the photo, IMO, the lights need to be cropped or edited out(clone).

To make the fireworks look larger, you might want to crop to the point where the explosion slightly exceeds the frame of the photo and off to one side.

For example:


I think this very same shot takes on a more impressive appearance by effectively increasing the size of the explosion, without losing the subject(s) involved (in this case, the reflection and the building underneath). A 'good crop' can really add some character to the shot... and all you did was focus the viewer's attention, turning a mediocre photo into a memorable one. Remember, not everything in the frame of the original shot is important to the desired shot. Be selective... and tell the real story with your photographic print. That's where the "darkroom genius" begins... you have this shot... make it count.

Just a thought

04-17-2006, 01:18 PM
scupking: I also have the A60 before I got the A75 and I must say I still use the camera untill today. there are 2 dead pixels in the sensor but its ok. I only use it to print 4x6 prints hehe. Anyway, I've tried 1,2,3,4, 8 second shots.. I found 4 to be the best. as for the aperture, It was at default, but i will try opening it up a bit more. Is there a way to check EXIF on the images i posted? do those tell any detailed info?

DonSchap: thank you for the suggestion. im assuming a diffuser filter is a hardware, not something done in photoshop? If it is, then I will certainly look into them and see how much they cost up north (canada). As for cropping I do that. I just show the originals so everyone can see it as is. Anyway I will have to learn how to do the cloning effect. I have photoshop and its tricky. I tried to clone out the street light but it didnt turn out nicely =[

Anywho, your thoughts are very much appreciated and I will work on what you have suggested. Thank you both =]

04-17-2006, 02:42 PM
Yes... a diffuser is a fixed filter type. You add it to your lens, like that 6-pt star you used. Diffusers come in various densities, depend on just how much softness you want to add to the photo. Personally, I use the Cokin Creative Filter System to try and get the type of shot I want with a minimum of Photoshop time, involved. The filters quickly slide in and out of the holder, which is mounted on the front of the camera, without the drag of having to screw and unscrew the filter on and off. The selected filter allows you to take a series of the same type of shots, with the same effects... then merge them together in Photoshop and with small adjustments, create the image you desire.

Today I took a series of model shots and used a SPEED filter, to create the illusion of movement.

After a couple of minutes in Photoshop, using three separate photographs to sharpen the images, I was able to turn out this effort at a dramatic stop-action.

It's a first attempt... but a fun image. :)


04-17-2006, 08:53 PM
thats a nice n cool effect. hehehe btw, i dont have a 6 pt star diffuser.. :confused: my camera jus did that all on its own.

04-17-2006, 09:39 PM
No need for a 6-pt star filter with canon cameras, at least the ones I have (A60, A75 and my New S2 IS). For example as long as you use F8.0 you will get the 6-pt effect the lower you get the less the effect. Here is an example with my A75.

F2.8 at 1 second

F8.0 at 10 seconds

04-17-2006, 10:16 PM
I appreciate your demostration of the 6-pt star effect w/o a filter. I guess this old dog can learn some new tricks. I will attempt this with the 20D and see if I can duplicate the effect, myself.

Cokin has several variations for center spot diffuser and full diffuser.

Check filters:
(spot for 50~250mm focal lengths) 060, 061, 062, 063
(spot for 20~35mm focal lengths) 070, 071, 072, 073
(full diffuser) 083, 084, 086, 087

also, there are half-diffuser filters, where 1/2 of the filter is clear: 150, 151. This would be good to get the atmosphere diffused and the surface reflection unaffected.


I guess Jeff is big into "fireworks" photographs. You might want to ask him what he thinks. Check out the section, on the this webpage:


04-18-2006, 07:45 AM
very nice demo indeed :D i wish i still had my christmas tree up hehehe id like to try out that trick! I also have an A60, my little sister's first camera which she left behind. I take care of it now since its really nice IMO. I use it most of the time heh

Thanks for that web site donschap there are some very nice pictures in there. After looking at all of them, I realized my pictures aren't as bad as I thought. I did'nt have a tripod when i shot mine pics, so thats a MUST have when I go to see the fireworks again this year. I will be experimenting with the aperture n shutter speed too. Thanks a lot for your help! :D