Travel Tips

Photography Tips for Philippine Pyromusical Competition

The 4th Philippine International Pyromusical Competition is just around the corner! It’s that time of the year again where SM Mall of Asia will be jam packed with people because of the fireworks competition.

Before the show…

  • Reserve seats as soon as possible. I would suggest choosing one of the mall’s veranda restaurants on the second floor for a better view.
  • Arrive at the mall at around 5PM to ensure parking space and early setup.
  • Leaving the mall after the show will take a lot of time, park outside the mall compound to avoid the rush.
  • Parking has been increased in the past year. There are parking areas in SMX, SM Arena and of course the mall itself.

Photographer’s Corner

Must bring

  • Tripod
  • Remote release
  • Black cardboard
  • Spare memory cards
  • Fully charged battery

Setting up your camera

  • Set up your tripod and camera early.
  • Run a couple of test shots before the actual show to help you frame your shots.
  • Shoot in RAW mode. This will help you post process your photos easier. RAW files can be opened by Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom.
  • Keep your ISO at 100. The fireworks will be bright enough and you’ll be shooting in longer exposures.
  • Set your aperture anywhere between f/8 and f/16.
  • Shoot at bulb setting to allow full control of when to release the shutter.
  • If you don’t have a remote, set your camera to go off on a 2-second timer. This will help eliminate any instability when pressing the shutter.
  • Turn off auto focus and set the focal length to infinity.

Shooting Creatively

Choose which orientation you’re more comfortable shooting with. Portraits are good if you want to get one whole burst as it shoots up. If you want to get multiple bursts, go with landscape.

When taking one shot with multiple bursts, use the black cardboard to control which bursts enter your shot.

  1. When the first firework goes off, press and hold the remote. When it fades, cover your lens with the black cardboard to avoid any light from entering.
  2. When the second shot goes off, remove the black cardboard. Cover it again when the shot fades.
  3. Release the remote after 2-3 firework shots to avoid over exposure.
  4. Repeat the steps for succeeding photographs.

This technique can be risky if your settings are not setup correctly. To make sure you’re getting the shots you want, check up on the finished shots in between firework breaks. This will help you adjust the aperture.

Shooting fireworks is all about the timing.


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