Firework Photography

Post Processing Tips

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Firework Photography post processing tips

How to create a composite firework image

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Firework Photography tips

composite image from firework display at Southend on Sea Nov 5th 2013

Firework photography

Post production Tips - 1

Select your chosen shots and open them in a RAW editor such as Adobe Camera Raw

Adjust the BLACKS until the sky is just slightly underexposed (use the underexposure warning to show when this is the case.) This will make it easier to make a composite image from several shots at a later stage should you so desire.

You may also wish to enhance the vibrance and contrast/clarity to really make the fireworks "snap" 

A screen shot showing the three key RAW adjustments highlighted in red.

  1. Darken blacks until sky is just underexposed
  2. Increase clarity to add contrast and make the fireworks really "snap"
  3. Boost vibrance to enhance the vivid colours of the fireworks

Firework photography tips

Post Production - 2

It is relatively easy to make a composite image overlaying several fireworks to replicate a stunning firework display finale

  • Select several of your favourite firework images - ideally use ones that were all taken from exactly the same position and exposure.
  • With all these images selected in Adobe Bridge or Lightroom, choose "open as photoshop layers (see screen shot from Adobe Bridge below)
  • In the photoshop document, choose an image with the optimum exposure for the BACKGROUND elements of your composition and move it to the bottom of the stack to become the background layer.
  • Switch off the visibility of all the above layers bar the one immediately above the background.
  • Change the blend mode of this layer to SCREEN and the black sky will immediately disappear from the shot leaving just the fireworks and any other background elements in the shot.

(see screen shot below) 

You will now need to mask away the background elements from this layer to leave just the fireworks.

  • To do this add a layer mask and fill with BLACK - this will temporarily hide the entire layer including the fireworks.
  • Select a medium soft round brush and painting with WHITE onto the LAYER MASK carefully brush the fireworks back into the image.

(See screenshot below)

  • Repeat this process for all the other layers one by one 

(see screen shot below)

To complete the project, crop the final image as desired.

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