Fireworks Photography Sydney

Location & Set up Info, Camera Settings & Photo Processing Tips

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How do I prepare for Fireworks Photography?

Shooting fireworks is fun, finding a great location to shoot them can take some time. It requires a little reading (this article), practice, and some planning to get eye catching fireworks photos.

While fireworks photography may seem complicated at first, once you learn a few basic techniques and get comfortable using your camera, you’ll see how easy it can be.
This article will help you to enjoy capturing photos that will have you excited for the next fireworks display.
This article has been kept brief so you can refer to it easily and only contains a summary of the best advice without fluff.

Before you begin shooting fireworks, make sure you understand your camera settings and capabilities. This will allow you to make the most out of your shots.

Who are we; We’re full time professional photographers who do a lot of photography in low light, if you need any refresher tips on low light photography, check out that page.

Our goal for this article is simple: To help you capture amazing fireworks photos every time you shoot. And we hope you enjoy following along as we share our tips and tricks for taking great fireworks photos.

Let’s get started.

Fireworks Photo Example Darling Harbour Sydney, Elevated Location

Darling Harbour Light Display Photo. Elevated View Example. Camera Settings ISO2500, 1/15s, f4 at 24mm focal length

Darling Harbour Fireworks Photo, Elevated Location. Composite Image. Corner of Druitt Street, Western Distributor flyover

Best Location for Fireworks Photos and Tips

  • Don’t get too close to the fireworks launch location or be underneath them are the first tips.
  • Give yourself some distance, say at least 200-500m metres away.
  • Incorporate static elements such as Buildings and Bridges in the frame.
  • Choose a night that has little or no wind for smoother water if on the harbour.
  • If possible a dark night that has a contrasting dark sky, no moon for example.
  • In the Southern Hemisphere winter will have longer nights and therefore may have darker skies.
  • In summer for NYE fireworks head to the midnight display for a darker sky
  • Avoid the summer 9pm fireworks which may still have some ambient light.
  • Go for the Midnight fireworks when possible.
  • Set up your tripod where it won’t get bumped by others.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment by using different vantage points each time
  • Have fun

Where is the best view of Sydney fireworks?

There are a lot of places you can view and photograph fireworks in Sydney. These are some obvious and not so obvious places to arrive early and remember, New Years Eve Fireworks are not the only time to take fireworks photos.

  • Sydney Harbour fireworks in Camp Cover
  • Sydney Harbour fireworks at Circular Quay
  • Fireworks barges in Sydney Western side of the Harbour Bridge
  • Balmain Wharf and Park fireworks
  • Darling Harbour from Pyrmont Bridge
  • Darling Harbour fireworks from expressway
  • Darling Harbour fireworks from ICC Level 5 balcony (some restrictions may apply)

Fireworks Example with an Elevated Position near Darling Harbour Marina

Darling Harbour Light Display Photo. Elevated View Example. Camera Settings ISO2500, 1/15s, f4 at 24mm focal length

Fire Reflections On Water by Fireworks. Darling Harbour, Sydney, Australia. Composite. Druitt Street & Western Distributor Expressway

Fireworks Camera Setting Tips

Low light photography is very similar for camera settings for either fireworks or other low light activities. The most important part of the setting up for the shot is to have the camera very still. A sturdy tripod works well or if you have a lens with modern Image Stabilisation that can work well too. See example on this page below.

Settings Summary to try;

5-second exposure shutter speed
Aperture setting F10
ISO can vary from 100 to 1200 ISO

Camera setting for the example at Darling Harbour written under the photo.

Fireworks photography settings can also be used for other light displays, not just fireworks. The photo below that was hand held during an event uses similar settings, except the shutter speed on a tripod can be longer than ¼ second hand held.

Fireworks Photo Techniques can also be used for Other Light Show displays

Darling Harbour Light Display Photo. Elevated View Example. Camera Settings ISO2500, 1/15s, f4 at 24mm focal length

Darling Harbour Light Display Photo. Elevated View Example. Camera Settings ISO2500, 1/15s, f4 at 24mm focal length. Hand Held.

Fireworks Photo Processing Tips

Whether you’re taking night photography of fireworks with the Sydney Opera House in the background or the city skyline you can stack photos and blend them in post production. Just keep the camera and lens in exactly the same position for best effect.

Photo on this page has 4 individual frames blended together for a mass of intense fireworks. Add more or less frames to reach your desired level of intensity.

When the photos are stacked, choose a blend mode that ‘adds’ the bright areas together, rather than subtract or other.

On Photoshop / Affinity Photo / On One etc try ‘Passthrough’ ‘Overlay’ ‘Lighter Colours’ until you find the creative desired effect. Perhaps we’ll do a tutorial article one day on our favourite fireworks processing method.

And remember, have fun and stay creative.

Darling Harbour Cockle Bay Fireworks Q&A

Can you see Fireworks at Darling Harbour?

Yes you can see the fireworks at Darling Harbour. The best views at Cockle Bay are from the eastern side (City side), north Darling Harbour, including the Pyrmont Bridge and from the west side (ICC Sydney).

Can I set up a tripod and take fireworks photos on the Western Distributor Motorway?

Taking fireworks photos from the Western Distributor Motorway Footpath may be prohibited on popular nights. We’ve seen security stop people taking photos there. A Permit may be required from the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS).

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