There are tons of articles online about taking great fireworks photos on the Fourth of July, but none that really talk about other things to photograph – such as your kids, family, parades, concerts, etc. So here goes:

Tips for Photographing Kids and Family

During the day you won’t really have an issue taking photos, as there will be lots of light. Remember that shady locations can help you get balanced light (as in no under eye or chin shadows) for the best image. As the sun sets and you begin to lose light it can become more difficult to get your camera to work with you to get a good exposure. Here are a few things to try:

–          Boost your ISO: This will let you keep your other settings (like shutter speed) the same but the higher sensitivity means less light is needed for a correct exposure.

–          Larger aperture: The larger the aperture, the more light comes into your lens. Try f/8 for landscapes or large scenes, f/4 or even larger for portraits.

–          Flash: Although it’s the least desirable option, it may be necessary if it’s really dark. Cover your flash with a Kleenex for a softer effect and less red-eye. Using off-camera flash tends to work out better.

Tips for Parades

If there’s a good parade in your neck of the woods on July 4th you may want to use the opportunity to practice your skills. The slow moving people and vehicles are excellent for practicing setting your shutter speed, which comes in handy the next time you want to photograph your kids while they’re tearing around. Start at 1/250s and go from there. Remember that things coming towards you don’t need as fast of a shutter speed as things moving across the front.

Tips for Concerts

Night time concerts are very hard to shoot, but give you a nice visual reminder of a fun event. You’ll likely want to boost your ISO as high as possible for this one (as high as you can without there being too much noise). Go with a large aperture as well to let in more light, this will let you use a faster shutter speed so you don’t end up with blurring. Don’t worry about a perfect exposure; underexposure in this type of photography gives the images a nice moody and intimate feel.

Other Things to Photograph

Food! There is usually a ton of yummy food and delicious drinks around on the Fourth of July, so why not practice your food photography? Grab a lens with a large aperture or macro mode and go nuts! Sail boats, flags, sports events, contests, veterans, and pets (who will be safely inside for fireworks, of course) also make for great photography subjects.

Happy 4th of July everyone!

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