Pro Tip – Capturing Fireworks Step By Step

New Year’s Eve is a unique opportunity to photograph one of the most beautiful moments of the year. Record something enchanted, from local traditions to joyful faces during celebrations to fireworks. This article covers the steps, techniques, and tips required to record and photograph fireworks in high-quality.


Step 1 – Determine Your End Goal

First, decide why you want to shoot fireworks. Knowing what you want to accomplish helps you organize for the shoot. Are you posting on social media, making a documentary, or planning to sell the footage for the stock? Each application has different visual requirements and will determine the type of equipment and preparation needed.


Step 2 – Plan the Production


  • Timing is key– Plan your shoot carefully and give yourself enough time to set up the tripod, camera, etc.
  • Do your research – Search Pond5 and then sort by popularity to see the top shots. You can also check Google, YouTube, and social media for viral posts to see why they went viral and see if something is inspiring to set the stage for your shoot.
  • Scout a location – Look up different venues hosting a fireworks display in your area. Choose one that interests you and provides a clear view of the show. Since you’ll be sitting there for some time, it should be a place where you feel at ease. You can check Google Earth to see access points and get a sense of what the location looks like in advance. Also, you can look for other places nearby that may give you a better view or at least a unique perspective.
  • Consider your vantage point – Check to see if a high-rise hotel is close to the fireworks, where you can book a room and shoot from the balcony. Survey your surroundings. Look for a hill or mountain a couple of miles away that may give a much larger scope to the fireworks. Lastly, get to your location early to set up!
  • Overall Composition – Fireworks with the blank sky in the background are useful as a source for layered photos and footage. However, if you intend to use it differently, look for a location with foreground objects, such as buildings, hillsides, or trees, at the very least to add additional visual elements. Otherwise, the results may look a bit plain. Having people in the foreground is also an option, but you must count on blurred movement as the sensor captures light longer.
  • Check the weather – You can not control the weather, and in the winter, it could spoil a celebration. However, it is feasible to set off fireworks in the rain, so if you are determined, don’t discount this issue, pack your belongings appropriately, and adequately protect yourself and the equipment!


A Sea Of Fireworks Explode Through The City Of Los Angeles by Lmprods.

Step 3 – Gear to Pack


  • Tripod – ​​Using a tripod is important but set the drag loose to give you the ability to pan and swivel.
  • Several lenses – Don’t count on one or two lenses. Start wide, but using a telephoto or wide telephoto to capture the details is excellent too. Use different frame settings based on your goal.
  • Flashlight/headlamp – Remember, you’re filming in low light. Bring a flashlight or, ideally, a headlamp.
  • Stay comfortable – Take care of yourself and those around you during the shoot. Bring some chairs, snacks, and enough water, and keep yourself warm!
  • Consider the weather – Pack rain protection for yourself and your camera if the forecast looks uncertain.
  • Batteries/Battery Chargers – You don’t want your camera to die while taking your amazing shots!
  • Cleaning Supplies– Make sure to pack some wipes or a microfiber cloth for easy cleaning in case your lens or camera gets dirty!
  • Memory cards –
  • Camera Remote – If your camera has a remote, pack it to reduce shaky hands while taking photos or videos!


Step 4 – The Best Camera Settings For Shooting Fireworks

You need to set up your camera for low-light filming. Most of the general rules apply here as well. If you’re photographing, don’t forget to shoot in Raw so you can better play with the image in post-production software later.

Read advice from Olympus and Nikon on how to capture brilliant fireworks photos, or check out the tips in this 4-minute-long video from Jeven Dovey on setting the camera.


Step 5 – Shooting

Action! The big day is here. Since you have a limited time to capture your shots, we recommend using techniques you find comfortable. Try to find out the launch location of the fireworks.

  • Panning left and right – Check your surroundings and ensure you have enough space for setting up and shooting. Add in more elbow room if necessary!
  • Exposure experiments< – Remember, the longer your exposure, the longer the trails of lights that will be visible.
  • Composition – There’s nothing wrong with shooting fireworks against the clear sky. High-quality shots have their place in the overall demand among video editors but if you don’t intend to sell your footage as a source for other use in editing (such as layering the fireworks in additional footage), then consider the foreground objects.
  • Speed experimentation – Slow motion gives you beautiful moody shots, while real-time is more authentic. Play with the settings!
  • PRO TIP: Shoot the entire show on a separate camera – Bring another camera with a wide lens and shoot timelapse or real-time footage of the whole fireworks show. The backup allows you the freedom to constantly change settings with your primary camera.
  • Aerial footage – Drone footage is also an option. If the local laws allow, a drone gives another perspective of the show and a competitive advantage over other sellers.
  • 360/VR footage – Don’t forget 360 cameras! If you find the right spot and you’re able to secure a clear image, it’s another competitive advantage.


Aerial Colorful Fireworks In Night City Sky Bright Holiday Celebrations Party by TaigaShots.


Step 6 – Post-production

A lot of things can be enhanced or fixed in post-production. Here’s the list of elements you can play with:

  • White balance – Experiment with the temperature and tint sliders to find your favorite colors. Fireworks don’t have a usual “correct” color, so you can change the white balance to whatever you want. You could also utilize the foreground objects you provided as a guide to figure out what is realistic regarding color.
  • Basic controls – Exposure and contrast, luminance, saturation, darkening shadows, and blacks are all controls you can adjust. Keep in mind that the outcome should be natural and vivid, not overexposed or unnaturally saturated. Being gentle is key.
  • Clarity, sharpening, and texture – Use these gently. It may help to make the fireworks pop out even more!
  • Clipping – If you have continuous long footage, find the most exciting moments, clip them, and export and upload them separately.


Step 7 – The Metadata Work/Uploading to Pond5

Congratulations! You’ve just exported your stunning work! Now it’s time to sell it. To make sales, you have to think of the marketing part too!

  • Refer back to your research on Pond5 – See what keywords other artists use with similar photos and footage when sorting the results by popularity.
  • Concepts – Don’t forget to add keywords as we get closer to the other events, holidays, and anniversaries that typically feature fireworks displays, such as the 4th of July, etc. Please read our guide to keywords for more information.
  • Metadata – Choose the proper descriptive titles and descriptions to help our algorithm push your content to the top of the results.
  • Create a collection – Create a collection of your photos and footage and share the link to your social media networks. Here’s a guide on how to make a collection.
  • Earn referral incomeGet even more revenue with our Referral Program. You’ll earn a commission on every new buyer you introduce to Pond5, no matter what they buy!
  • Maximize your earning potential – Join the  Pond5 Exclusive Video Artist Program for an industry-leading 60% royalty share. Not only will you maximize the value of your work, but you’ll also save time by uploading to just one platform. And if you combine it with the referral program, you can get up to 90% revenue share!

Top Image: Sparkling Celebration Fireworks New York City Manhattan Skyline With Skyscrap by photovs

Buyer Requests: Winter is Coming, New Year – New Me, Smart Health

Most Wanted in December

While looking forward to all the pleasures the holidays bring- from fantastic food to time spent with our loved ones, buyers are already planning campaigns for 2023. January marks a new beginning for business strategies and New Year’s resolutions. Take advantage of this opportunity to offer new and fresh content created around Winter Wonderland, New Year – New Me, and Smart Health. Don’t forget to attach the special keywords assigned to each theme so we can track and promote your work!

Winter Is Coming!

Winter Is Coming!


Winter as a theme is quite generic. Therefore it gives you a lot of freedom to get creative!
Experiment with different camera approaches and post-production techniques. Here’s a list of ideas you can get inspiration from:

Submission Ideas

  • User-generated content – leave your professional gear at home and send us authentic POV footage, whether a snowball fight, sledding, or shoveling your walkway.
  • Breaking News – capture the climate crisis and weather behavior! If you’re witnessing unusual weather, such as storms, give it a shot, literally. Don’t forget to stay safe!
  • Vintage shots – if you have an old functional camera, try using it and give buyers content with a vintage feel. Alternatively, you can experiment with the post-production techniques. Send in those film shots!
  • Archival footage – have you found old VHS tapes? This kind of authentic footage is highly in demand as it’s irreplaceable because it’s evidence of the lifestyle at that time. Check our Pro Tip below to see the requirements for submitting archival footage.
  • Local shots – Wintertime is beautiful for its diversity! Show us what winter looks like in your local town, city, country, etc. Capture how businesses prepare for the holidays, winter sales, etc. What is typical for your country? What does this season look like in Germany, the US, Australia, and India? A range of options is best!
  • Winter sports – traditional winter sports we’ve been looking forward to, from skiing to snowboarding, figure skating on a frozen pond, ice hockey, sledding, and more.
  • Winter duties and responsibilities – Capture how lifestyle changes during winter – snow removal from the paths and sidewalks, ice removal from the roof, raking leaves, and winter cleanup of your home before decorating it for the holidays.
  • Winter in detail – macro shots of snowflakes, timelapse of melting ice, breath in the cold, rosy cheeks and noses, tree branches covered in snow, frozen lakes.

Suggested Keywords

Winter, holiday, Christmas, Winter sport, skiing, snowboarding, figure skating, ice hockey, sledging, archival, vintage, retro, climate change, etc.

Target Group

A wide variety of clients from ad agencies and news organizations to influencers and bloggers.

New Year - New Me

New Year - New Me


The topic of New Year’s resolutions is steadily rising to the top of winter season searches. Refreshing your Storefront with new graphics based on commitments and fresh starts is sure to attract interest from buyers.

Shot List Thought Starters

  • New Year transformation – people working out at home watching a virtual instructor, installing or building equipment for their home gyms, paying for a gym membership, buying vitamins, protein drinks, and other dietary supplements online. Capture multi-generational family members and friends exercising together, atypical fitness equipment, and inadequate/inappropriate exercise rooms.
  • Multitasking people – working out during online meetings, a floor treadmill under a working desk.
  • People giving up bad habits – such as drinking alcohol, smoking, overeating, etc.
  • Close-up shots – people writing down a list of New Year’s resolutions and creating a vision board.
  • Online learning – think of people attending an online course, learning a new language, etc.
  • Group shots – families discussing New Year’s resolutions plans, groups of friends supporting or motivating each other.
  • Body image – standing on a scale, looking at a fit or unfit body in the mirror.
  • Cooking and eating – healthy foods, shopping for organic food at a farmers market, cooking in the kitchen, etc.
  • Mindfulness – practicing yoga, meditating, etc.

Suggested Keywords

New Year, New Year’s resolutions, new beginnings, high expectations, workout, training, multi-generational family, smoking, overeating, bad habits, home gym, equipment, online course

Target Group

All groups, especially ad agencies and corporate clients.

Smart Health

Smart Health


In January, people are more determined to take care of themselves. The newest technologies, gadgets, and artificial intelligence make our lives much easier! Buyers are looking for the latest technologies and the future of smart health and living for all ages!

Shot List Thought Starters

  • Smart health devices – shots of people using common smart health such as toothbrushes, apps, bracelets, watches, etc. Include close-up shots of the devices in action.
  • Checking data – graphs, statistics, and results from the smart devices on their phones, tablets, or laptops.
  • Wellness devices – heart monitors, sauna blankets, facial massagers, facial steamer, etc.
  • Smart fitness – think of different types of connected treadmills, elliptical machines, scales, and smart workout machines.
  • Health in VR – working out with a VR headset/goggles on.
  • Smart software – upload content of people working out following instructions on their phone from the app or people tracking their progress in an app.

Suggested Keywords

Smart, smart health, futuristic, VR, gadgets, healthy lifestyle, sleep trackers, smart scale, massagers, smart app, etc.

Target Group

All groups, especially ad agencies and corporate clients.

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The “Driving Plate”: Stumbling Upon a Niche Genre

Have you heard of driving plate footage? It’s a type of video taken from the perspective of a person sitting in a moving vehicle. Moreover, it’s a niche genre that might inspire you to freshen up your collection with a new perspective! Check out the host blog post from our Pond5 Artist Andrew Dutton of hh65flier and read on for tips and tricks to capture the best driving plate footage.


Want to be the next one?

We are still looking for industry experts to feature as guests on the Pond5 blog and YouTube channel. All topics relating to film production, stock media, video editing, production techniques, visual trends, and content creation are needed.

Send us your article between 1000 – 1500 words, and if you choose to accompany your article with a video, vlogs should be between 1-3 minutes. All content should focus on your area of expertise, be user-centred and benefit the audience by teaching them something, providing entertainment, or informing them about industry trends or topics. Link back to your Pond5 content as examples using your unique referral links to increase the exposure of your content.

Send your article to, and if we use your submission on one of our channels, we’ll add $200 to your next payout! If you have any questions or want to run a topic idea by us before you begin creating, reach out! We’re happy to help you get started.