How to photograph (good enough) fireworks with a point and shoot

how to photograph fireworks

Here’s a quick tip that I learned a few years ago from the Pioneer Woman.

Three years ago I took this fireworks picture while sitting in a boat that was floating in the middle of the lake (read: unstable and shaky) with my old Canon Powershot A620 digital camera. At the time, I was just dipping my toes into photography in general, so I literally had ZERO photo taking skills at this point.

Here is how you can get a shot like this if you happen to have a point and shoot camera that has an AV (aperture priority) mode on your dial like this:

Photo via Let’s Go

Simply turn your dial to AV mode and set your aperture as low as it will go. This picture was 2.8. This will let as much light into the camera as possible, but the camera will auto adjust the rest of the settings for you.

Make sure your flash is turned off.

HOLD STILL. As still as possible. Lean against something sturdy.

And shoot. Then shoot some more. Then scroll through the review button and see if they are too bright or blurry. If so, adjust your AV setting to a higher number a little bit at a time until you get a pic that looks ok. Take a bunch of shots and hopefully one will turn out!

You just might get lucky and get a nice shot! I make no promises here, I’m going from memory on a photo I took three years ago, so give me some leeway if yours don’t turn out, mmkay? 🙂

And I know my picture is not perfect, but for a point and shoot from a boat in the middle of the blackness I thought it was pretty doggone good.

If you have a dSLR and want to try to shoot something like this manually, here are the settings (EXIF data) for this photo:

Flash: OFF
ISO: Not listed in my data, but I would assume around 200-400? I’m guessing here. And ISO of 100 would be ideal if the fireworks are bright enough to go that low.
Aperture: f2.8
Shutter Speed: 1/20

I’ll try to capture a few more this 4th of July and let you know how they turn out!


Try it and let me know how it goes. Happy Independence Day everyone!

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Speak Your Mind



  1. Shannon at Fox Hollow Cottage says:

    Noted. Will try shooting with both cameras this year. You’ll know how it goes, if I share a photo. LOL

  2. Jane@Cottage at the Crossroads says:

    Very timely post. I’m still working with a point and shoot. It’s on its last leg, so we hope to replace it with a DSLR in a month or so. I’ll try this. I would be excited to capture some fireworks.

  3. Christine @ First Home...Love Life says:

    Any tips for showing sparklers? I have a Nikon D90 and am still trying to figure out how to use it!

  4. Inspire Me Heather says:

    Thanks Beth for the tips!

  5. Amy Renea says:

    Can’t wait for this one to blow up on pinterest too girl — you rock the socks off photo tutes — <3 <3 <3

  6. Amy Renea says:

    Christine — sparklers can be captured by keeping your ISO lower than you would think. You want to capture the detail of the light, and less of the surroundings, so start around 400-800 ISO and use a slllllow shutter speed to get lots of movement. Alternatively use a FAST hutter speed to get sharp detailed sparkler shots. A tripod will help a LOT!

  7. SheilaG @ Plum Doodles says:

    You’re a blessing! I only have a point and shoot, had no idea how to even try to get a decent picture. Thanks so much for giving me a fighting chance. 🙂

  8. Cindy Miller@ says:

    I’m going to try this, thanks for the pic tips!!
    Happy 4th

  9. thistlewoodfarm says:

    Love this….I am totally pinning this! Why did I not read this yesterday 🙁

    Do think the same settings apply for taking pictures of the moon?

    🙂 me

  10. Eclectically Vintage says:

    Where were you when I was sitting on the beach on the 4th! All I got were blurs in the sky – maybe I needed a tripod (or less alcohol in me)!

  11. Mayra Navarro Art says:

    I love educational things like this. Thanks.

  12. Helen's Decor says:

    Oh, you did bring up the “C word”…my newest camera gives me fits! Like a hissy fit at that. I’ve skipped around reading and love your screened porch…they’re one of my favorite topics. Thanks, Helen

  13. Helen's Decor says:

    Hey Beth, I’m now following you on Linky! Hope you’ll follow me.



  1. […] Those blurry blobs in the sky are a thing of the past once you read Beth from Unskinny Boppy’s tips on how to photograph fireworks. […]

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