How to take great photos with your phone’s camera



July 4th is approaching, which means seeing fireworks and trying to capture great photos of them with our smartphones.

This year, more Americans may be eager to get out of their homes and see fireworks in person, as states lift restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccinations are on the rise.

The easiest way to get a great fireworks shot: shoot a video. You won’t go wanting. Then take a screenshot or screenshot of the best moment later if you want a still image. (It couldn’t be simpler. Just pause the video and the top two side buttons on recent iPhones, or the power and volume buttons on recent Samsung Galaxy phones.)

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Here are some more tips for getting great fireworks photos:

Be fully loaded and ready to go

Most smartphones are almost dead overnight, after a full day of use. So try to grab a second charge during dinner or bring an external battery, like a Mophie or Anker portable charger for the fireworks. They range from $ 50 to $ 100.

Choose your place and stick to it

It is possible that the fireworks scene you are attending will be crowded. Try to arrive early and choose the best location possible, ideally one with a wide view of the sky, without distractions. Do some testing before deciding where to go.

Try burst mode

Fireworks are difficult. They fly quickly over your screen and are difficult to capture. Who are you going to call? Burst mode, which allows you to take multiple images in quick succession.

To do this, quickly slide the shutter button to the left on recent iPhones and you’ll hear the shutter start firing quickly. The same technique works on current Samsung Galaxy models.

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Use time-lapse mode

Finally, if you want to be the coolest person in your neighborhood, try shooting the fireworks in time-lapse mode and watch the world go by at super high speed. You can’t do this without a tripod though. Mount the camera, click the timelapse button and let it roll all the time. Amazon sells several smartphone tripods ranging from $ 15 to $ 25.

You don’t use a smartphone? Take a tripod

If you’re shooting with a camera, photographer Rick Sammon recommends using a tripod and a very slow shutter speed. His recipe: exposure to f / 11 and a shutter speed of 2 seconds to make the colors explode in the sky.

And as always, take lots and lots of photos. Fireworks are fast, they explode in the sky and change colors instantly, and digital costs nothing, so go for it. You can remove all the misfires when you get home.

Contribution: Brett Molina, USA TODAY

This story was originally published on July 4, 2020.


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