Featured Session

Welcome to my blog!

Flower Fireworks

How to Photograph Fireworks to Look Like Flowers

El Paso fireworks that look like a flower in the shape of a heart

ISO 640/ f 9.0/ exp 1.0 sec/focal length 48mm

The 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays, and it’s solely because of the fireworks. As a child with phonophobia, I missed out on these bright bursts of magic in the sky. It took me 18 years to get over it, and the love for photographing fireworks struck me in my 19th year.

Pretty pink fireworks that look like flowers by El Paso photographer Gina Ciaccio

ISO 640/ f 9.0/ exp 1.0″/ focal length 48mm
Ambient light can be seen coming in from nearby lit up signs and street lights.

If you’re anything like me, you look forward to trying new ways to capture fireworks in beautiful forms. Fireworks over water and in amazing locations always catches my eye, so living in a desert town can make things seem a little lackluster. So when I read up on a technique that resulted in gorgeous art without required travel to exotic places, I was down for the challenge! I fine tuned it with my own techniques, and actually – it’s super easy to accomplish!

This is how I created images of fireworks that look like flowers, or as I like to call them, Flowerworks.

Blue and red fireworks that look like flowers by Gina Ciaccio Photography

ISO 800/ f 9.0/ exp 1.0 sec/focal length 75mm

What You’ll Need


˙DSLR Camera – It does not have to be a top of the line model, but it should have the option to shoot in manual “M” mode. I used a Canon 60d to take the photographs in this article.

˙Camera Lens – Choose a lens with a focal length of 35mm or greater that has a manual focus ring. Again, it does not have to be a top of the line model! I see a lot of discouragement out there about use of kit lens! I used the Canon 18-135mm kit lens to create these images and I think they are amazing!


White and red el paso fireworks that look like flowers by Gina Ciaccio Photography

ISO 640/ f 9.0/ exp 1.0″ /focal length 75mm

Camera Settings

˙Put your camera in manual mode

˙Shutter speed: 1″

˙ISO: 640

˙f stop: 9.0

˙Make sure your lens is set to manual focus!

Green Fireworks that look like flowers by El Paso photographer Gina Ciaccio

ISO 640/ f 9.0/ exp 1.0 sec/focal length 48mm

Creating the Capture


 1. Scout your perfect location. Try to avoid areas with a lot of ambient light or other tall structures that could get in the way.

 2. With your camera on the tripod, watch the first firework go off so you can determine the ideal spot to point your lens at.

 3. I recommend keeping a focal length between 35mm and 100mm to leave enough space to capture the firework as a whole. You can always crop in later. This is of course dependent on your distance from the display and your own personal preferences!


 4. You will start with your firework completely out of focus! Turn the focal ring so that the start of your firework burst will look like pretty bokeh circles. This is what creates the base of the flower petals.

 5. Watch and listen carefully for when the firework is shot off. You’ll begin to get a sense of when the firework will appear.


 6. Press your shutter at the exact moment you expect the firework to appear in the sky! Avoid pressing the shutter too early to cut back on the ambient light intake.

 7. As soon as you press the shutter begin to gradually move your focus ring to bring the firework into focus. This creates the tips of the flower petals.

 8. Review your image and adjust your shutter or ISO as necessary. The ISO on these images ranges between 640 and 800, and the exposure remained at 1 second.

Mint green fireworks that look like flowers by Gina Ciaccio Photography


˙Try to time your move from out-of-focus to in-focus to match the duration of the time that your shutter is open. Moving into focus too quickly will create less of a bubble flower effect and look more like a regular firework snapshot. Not moving quickly enough will dull the final point of the flower tip.

˙Remember to reset your focal point to out-of-focus before your next shot! Otherwise you will end up with a weird reverse effect that’s not nearly as cool!

˙Shoot in RAW format. This really helps when editing out the extra light and fuzz in post processing.

˙Images can be edited in Lightroom within minutes with a few simple adjustments to the bring down the highlights, shadows, and blacks, and amp up the clarity, vibrance and luminance.

˙Have lots of fun with this! It’s awesome and exciting to see your results roll in, and even when they aren’t perfect, they still look beautiful!

El Paso Fireworks at Abundant Living Faith Center

This is what happens when you do it backwards, starting out in focus then moving the ring out of focus!

ISO 640/ f 9.0/ exp 1.0″/ focal length 48mm

ISO 800 / f 8.0/ exp 1.0″/ focal length 135mm

This technique is really easy to follow and will get you awesome results in no time! I hope you found this article easy to read and understand, and I hope it inspires you to go out and become a flowerworks master! Thank you for visiting!


-Images taken July 4th, 2015 with a Canon 60d DSLR and Canon 18-135mm lens.

-Fireworks display from Abundant Living Faith Center.


Add a comment...

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

    Follow Me