How To Take Amazing Fireworks Photos With Your Phone



Christmas and the New Year’s is upon us and no doubt most of us will get our phone out to take some photos, but how do you take fireworks photos that look good? 

Big fireworks display doesn’t come around very often, so when it does it’s best to be prepared to take photos that are Instagram-worthy.

Fireworks: Reality vs Expectation

Expectation vs Reality FireworksReddit

I’ve been doing it for many years now, and I always see when the excitement takes over and the pressure to quickly snap before it ends result in bad pictures. Following these tips and tricks, you will be well prepared next time.

Using the new Sony Xperia XZ, I’ve been able to put these tricks to test with the Sony XZ’s 23MP Android smartphone shooter that can capture a lot of details, even when conditions (lighting and weather conditions) aren’t great.

Fireworks Xperia XZ

It uses some clever technology like fast autofocus to make sure you never capture any blurry image again, and using a 1/2.3” Exmor RS mobile image sensor ensures all details are captured.


One of my tips is to shoot wide (landscape mode), and with the XZ’s G Lens, not only can you capture more light, it’s also 24 mm wide, so you can fit more into the frame.

When capturing fireworks, you will have plenty of colours up in the sky and with a clever mobile image-processing engine, you get vivid colours and less noise.

So how can you capture the best fireworks photos?

Get a Tripod
When it comes to low-light situations, any camera will struggle to capture images with shaky hands, but thanks to OIS ( Optical Image Stabilisation), which most smartphones have now,  you won’t have to worry much.

Sony tripod

However, to take it a step further, using a tripod will make sure you get zero blurry shots and if you were to use a slow shutter app, for example, you will be fine shooting in bulb mode for arty images.

Turn Flash off
Turning flash off will allow your phone to keep its shutter open long enough to capture the fireworks display accurately.

Xperia XZ flash

Leaving it on however means your phone will light up a little further, but not further enough to affect the fireworks’ brightness.

Turn ISO Down

If you have a pro camera app or if your smartphone happen to have a manual mode like the XZ, you will be able to control shutter speed, ISO and focus.

ISO settings

High ISO means your camera’s sensitivity to light is higher, and everything will appear a lot brighter. Using your camera’s manual mode, turn your ISO down to about 100 to avoid overexposure and reduce noise.

Try HDR Mode

HDR on
This one is a tricky one, so that’s why I recommend you try it and see if you’re happy with the result. High Dynamic Range (HDR), allows you to capture accurate detail and colour in normal lighting conditions, especially if lighting is not consistent. See example below:

Image with HDR onImage with HDR on

When shooting fireworks, the light will move quickly, so when HDR is bracketing the exposure (Low, Mid and High exposures), it may not be the best.  However, it could also turn out better than capturing a single exposure image, so try it out.

Camera modes

Camera Modes
Some smartphones have built-in modes for capturing light trails or fireworks, so explore your device and let it do all the work for you.

Get an external storage

leef ibridge 3
When shooting a spectacular fireworks display, it’s easy to get happy and take a lot of pictures, so if you have a device that doesn’t support an external storage like the iPhone, you can get yourself a nifty gadget like the Leef iBridge with USB 3.0; you can take photos directly to it and save your internal storage space. Don’t worry, they also have them available for Android users too.

Enjoy yourself!
I know it’s exciting and you want to capture the memory for life, but don’t forget to actually enjoy yourself and take it all in. You can share your shots with us on Facebook at UNILAD Tech too.  Interested in the Xperia XZ? check out Three UK‘s website for more on pricing and availability.