Grand Junction Colorado engagement photographer

How to Photograph Fireworks Using a DSLR Camera OR your phone

How to take stellar Firework photos using your DSLR!

Independence day is only a few short days away and I know you are dying to catch those amazing firework displays on camera!  Here is a quick tutorial for beginners on using your DSLR to capture those bursts of joy!

You will need:

A DSLR Camera

A Tripod

A Remote Release (optional)

*Before we get started, remember the 3 elements of your camera that you will need to set accordingly are the ISO, Aperture, and Shutter Speed.*

How To:

1.  Use a Tripod.  The most important tip to remember when trying to capture fireworks on camera is that your digital camera needs to be secure and free from movement or camera shake.  This is important because you will be using longer shutter speeds which will capture the movement of the fireworks but it will also pick up any other movements to the camera itself.  If you don’t have a tripod then simply find a sturdy location to set your camera on like perhaps a solid table.

2.  To achieve a perfectly still image it’s best to use a remote control release to trigger the shutter on your camera but it’s not entirely necessary.  You can still fire your camera by pressing the shutter button but be sure to be quick and and as still as possible to avoid moving the camera.

3.  Scope out your location.  Firework displays typically last several minutes so get a feel for where the most sparks are flying and frame your shot accordingly.

4.  Shoot in manual mode (M).  This way you have complete control over the settings on your camera.  Also shoot in manual focus, this will allow you to focus in on the first few fireworks and leave your focus set for the next ones to come.  Manual focus can be adjusted directly on the lens itself.

5.  Once your camera is set to manual mode (M) and you have locked in your area of focus, set the aperture.  (you may need to get out your instruction manual if you are not familiar with where the aperture setting is located on your camera).  What aperture should you use?  Experiment with apertures but I find that the smaller range tend to work really well.  I would shoot somewhere around f/16.  When you are in manual mode one of the dials on your camera should adjust your aperture and you should see the reading F16.

6.  More important that aperture is setting your shutter speed.  Fireworks are moving objects and you will need a fairly long shutter speed to capture this movement.  Check your cameras instruction manual if you are not familiar with where the shutter speed dial is located.  I typically like to shoot fireworks somewhere between 5-10 seconds.

7.  Shoot at a low ISO.  Stick to 100 or the lowest setting to avoid overexposing your images.

8.  Be sure to switch off your flash!

9.  Experiment and keep track of your results!  You are probably not going to get it right the first time so take a sample image and then adjust your settings accordingly.  The three settings to remember are ISO, Aperature, and Shutter Speed.  I find that leaving the ISO set low to 50 or 100 as well as your Aperature to f/16 will work just fine so pay attention to your shutter speeds!

Post your images to our Facebook page or tag us on Instagram so we can see all of your 4th of July Firework awesomeness!

Tips for capturing instagram worthy firework photos on your iPhone or Android device.

1.  Location - scout a spot with a good view of the fireworks show and choose your location upwind to prevent the smokey look from ruining your images.

2.  Be Still - if you aren’t using a tripod of some sorts then find something sturdy to lean against.  Your shots need to be as still as possible to avoid blurry photos.

3.  Lay off the shutter - The AE/AF lock which can be accessed by tapping your screen to focus and set the exposure will help to get a stellar firework shot if you can wait a few seconds.  Try using one firework to meter and then take your photo of the next burst.

4.  NO Flash, zoom or HDR - Don’t zoom in on the fireworks display because you loose resolution.  Ever notice how your images become slightly blurry and grainy when you zoom in too far?  Take the photos and crop them later.

5.  Try practicing first with a sparkler :)

How to photograph Fireworks using a DSLR

Seth + Kelsey | Hotchkiss Colorado Engagement Photographer


Kelsey and Seth are engaged and getting married May 1st, 2015 in Silverthorne Colorado!  I'm sure this will be a celebration that their friends and family won't want to miss!

Over 4th of July weekend I traveled to Hotchkiss, Colorado to the childhood home of Seth for the couple's engagement session.  We had so much fun and couldn't have picked a more beautiful evening for a shoot.  Thanks to the owners of Kuntz Ranch for the use of their property and their vintage Chevy!  It was the perfect touch to an intimate setting.

Congratulations Seth and Kelsey!  Let the wedding planning begin!




DeAna + Qionn | Grand Junction Engagement Photographer

Downtown Grand Junction is the perfect setting for any photo session if you appreciate the urban feel.  Especially when the weather is chilly and the trees haven't quite begun to show signs that spring has sprung.  That's where I took these two love birds on a brisk February afternoon.  This is DeAna and Qionn.  A newly engaged couple who has proved to me that long distance relationships can and really do work.  Qionn is a Sailor stationed in Japan while his beautiful bride to be is a student at CMU.  Both are from the Front Range so you can imagine how tickled I was to photograph an out of town couple!


Congratulations DeAna & Qionn!



Jenna + Shelby | Engagements | Grand Junction Colorado

Jenna and Shelby:  The Proposal

March 31st, 2013

I copied this straight from their website where you can read their entire story and get details about their wedding at

March 31, 2013 happened to be Easter Sunday.  Shelby and I got up a little earlier than normal so we could go to my sister Nicole's house and watch my nieces and nephew look for Easter eggs.  After wandering the yard for a bit I looked at Shelby from across the yard and noticed he had an Easter basket in his hands.  As I got closer I noticed several colorful plastic eggs in the basket.  He gave me the basket and told me they were mine, and that the Easter bunny brought it for me.  I looked closer at the eggs and noticed they had numbers on them, numbered 1-4.  It was then that I realized what he was doing.  I opened up the first egg and a piece of paper along with a chocolate kiss was inside.  The paper read "Will."  I immediately started shaking and a huge smile was planted on my face.  I proceeded to open the other 3 each one had a chocolate kiss and a slip of paper, the others reading "You", "Marry", "Me".  I looked up from the basket and saw him down on one knee in front of me.  The moment was all too fast but I heard him say "Jenna, will you marry me?"  Of course I said yes and gave him a huge hug and kiss.  I looked around the yard forgetting for a moment that we were still in the middle of our Easter egg hunt and noticed my family clapping and congratulating us.  My mom was snapping pictures and trying her best not to cry.  I was one of the most special moments to date and am so excited to start my life with Shelby.heart




Congratulations Jenna and Shelby!



Keira + Troy | Engagements | Palisade Colorado

Troy and Keira:  The Beginning

Troy and Keira met one evening through mutual friends but it wasn't until a few weeks later when Troy friended Keira on Facebook and a friendship began.  They started hanging out and after a few months things escalated into something much more.  Troy proposed to Keira on may 6th, 2013 which happened to be their 3rd anniversary. He told her that he had something for her to look at in his taxidermy shop and when she entered the shop she saw a bouquet of roses on the counter.  When she got closer she found her ring in the middle of a rose. When she turned around to look at him he popped the question!

The wedding is set for June 7th, 2014!




Congratulations Keira & Troy!



Josh + Callie | Engagements | Grand Junction Colorado

Josh and Callie have been acquaintances since their days of high school.  They never really hung out or talked much but shortly after Callie bought a house in Fruita in 2012 they ran into one another at JD's bar.  They were sitting at the bar talking and throwing back drinks when someone overheard what they thought was Josh asking Callie to marry him!  (didn't really happen) but the two of them went along with it and Callie announced to the intoxicated crowd that they had indeed just gotten engaged!  The folks at the bar made her a "ring" out of a pink drinking straw and after their make-believe proposal they were inseparable.

July 20th, 2013

"The Real Proposal"

Josh and Callie had dinner plans with her best friend and her husband and before their meal they took a drive on the monument.  They stopped at a few spots to take pictures and then made their way to Escante Canyon.  Here is where Josh dropped to one knee and popped the question!  There was more to the surprise!  Josh wouldn't let Callie call any of her friends or family and asked her to give it a day or two to sink in.  Well, when they got to her friends house they walked in the door and all of their friends and some family were there to yell Congratulations!  Callie instantly started crying tears of joy!

The last surprise was that Josh had Callie's friend, Wendy, hiding in the bushes during the proposal taking pictures of the engagement.

Way to go Josh!!  Props to you buddy!  You pulled off this proposal flawlessly!

The wedding is set for May 3rd, 2014



Congratulations Josh and Callie!



Hank + Ashley | Engagements | Grand Junction Colorado

Every couple has a love story, here is Hank and Ashley's!
Hank and Ashley first met at Pork & Hops in 2012 through mutual friends.  They never exchanged phone numbers but were both pleasantly surprised when Hank strolled through the door while Ashley was out for a girls night about a month later. They've been together ever since. The combination of city girl/snowmobiler and country boy/team roper is nothing that either of them could have imagined for themselves but it couldn't have turned out any better!  As the story goes, opposites attract!  Hank proposed to Ashley on Sept. 14th, 2013 at the CPRA Finals.  Hank had been planning the proposal for a few months and had included their local family, friends, 1,000 rodeo fans and the best rodeo clown ever!  The evening was pulled off flawlessly, Ashley never had a clue what was going on around her until he hit his knee.
The wedding is scheduled for 2/22/14 which is a sentimental number to Ashley, as 222 used to be her competitor number when she raced snowmobiles.
I have the wonderful pleasure of capturing the love on their wedding day and spent an afternoon shooting their engagements.  Check them out!
Special thanks to my dear friend Katie from Katie Landers Photography for assisting me and providing me with many laughs during their session!

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Congratulations Hank and Ashley!  I'm looking forward to February 22nd!!




Hunter + Lauren | Engagements | Grand Junction Colorado

A few months back Lauren contacted me to set up a fall couples session for her and her boyfriend, Hunter.  We discussed details and scheduled the date.  A few weeks after I get an email from Hunter explaining that he was planning to propose to Lauren during our photo session.  I was so excited!  I asked Hunter if he had a plan in mind and he told me no, that he planned to do it when it felt right.  I warned him to just give me some sort of a sign so that I was paying close attention.  I certainly didn't want to miss this!  Things couldn't haven't turned out more perfect!



It was right before the next photo that Hunter proposed to Lauren on this very bridge!  Rather than capture a bunch of photos that could easily be recreated, I decided to give them a better gift.  I captured the entire proposal on video!  They had no idea until I told them, I'm really sneaky like that.  Now they have a much more valuable keepsake that they can share with family and friends.




Congratulations Hunter and Lauren!  I am so very happy for you and I can't wait until the wedding!