Independence Day fireworks displays happen in a couple of days. An almost unimaginable number of photographs will be made of these blazing bursts of colorful light and smoke. Sadly, what we remember of these magnificently ephemeral moments just aren’t what we see when the photographs are showing on monitors. If your photos from the upcoming Fourth aren’t the dazzling finale you remember, read on!
BTW my fellow Photofocus author Nicole Young has a great top ten tips on shooting fireworks article if you are planning a photography outing the evening of the Fourth.
More Color Please…
Here are my fireworks selects displayed in Lightroom CC 2014. Frankly, they look “blah,” dull and flat. This is a job for the Develop module!
Auto Sync Saves Time
Press D to enter the Develop module. The most selected photo (the one on the lower right in the screenshot above for instance) displays in Develop’s content area. Since all of the photos are going to receive the same settings in the Basic tab, turn on Auto Sync. Click the switch at the left of the Sync button a the bottom of the left Sidebar.
In the Basic tab
Here’s where the fun begins. All of the color you want is right there in the RAW file from your camera. It just want’s a bit of coaxing. Start by moving the Temp slider to 2800. Exposure probably won’t be an issue especially if you followed Nicole’s top ten. Pop up the Contrast to around +50. Boost the Highlights to +50 too. Add Clarity to the tune of +65, Vibrance to+50 and up Saturation to +25.
HSL / Color / B & W tab
Here’s where color control becomes fun! Click HSL to show the sliders for all eight colors in the categories Hue, Saturation & Luminance. Luminance is another way of saying “brightness.” Start in the Saturation section. Begin at the top with the Red slider. Pull it all the way to the left. If anything turns gray, it is red. Continue moving Saturation sliders for each color to -100 until you have found the colors in the fireworks. Now the real fun begins. In my example all of the color in the burst is Blue and Purple.
Pump Up the Color…
Adjusting the Hue changes the actual color according to the slider’s position on the color scale. Saturation increases the color itself and Luminance the color’s brightness. The top screenshot below is the version done in the Basic tab. Below it is the version with the HSL sliders adjusted to pump up the blues and purples.
One More Thing…
Once the bursts are super colorful what next? How about combining them in Photoshop to make your very own closing “finale?” This sounds like another Photofocus post to me.Kevin is a commercial photographer from Atlanta. He works for fashion, architectural, manufacturing and corporate clients. When he’s not shooting, he contributes to Photoshop User magazine & writes for Photofocus.com.