Take Great July 4 Photos with Just Your Phone

man writes "2017" with a sparkler

Want to take great 4th of July pics with just your phone? You don’t need a fancy camera to take great pictures of fireworks, picnics or even to spell out words with a sparkler. With a few tips, you can capture that summertime feeling without a professional camera.

The 4th of July is one of the most fun days to photograph. Your friends are all together, the kids look super cute making a mess eating watermelon, and there are so many beautiful colors in the sky! You don’t need a fancy camera to take cool photos, and let’s face it — you’re going to want to post them to Instagram anyway. (Just don’t flood our feed with multiple photos of your plate of BBQ!) Here are our best tips for capturing great photos on July 4 using just your smartphone and a few tricks.

Check Your Storage

First and foremost, check your storage before the 4th. Don’t put yourself in a situation where you have to delete apps and text messages (or even other photos — yikes!) just to take a picture. I have been guilty of that and missed special moments because of it. The struggle is real. Prepare by clearing up space ahead of time. Dropbox is a great option for storing photos, and the basic plan is free. I personally backup my photos on this external hard drive. It’s very user friendly, and more than enough storage for my needs.

Take a Fun Sparkler Photo

Take one of those sparkler photos where you spell out words. I have never been able to take one of these successfully, but I am optimistic this year. The trick is to download the Slow Shutter Cam app. You can go here to get incredible step by step instructions. I will do it this year!! And then you can just stop because that’s really the photo that everyone wants to get, right? No? Ok.

Get the Right Light by Cutting Your Flash

Turn off the flash. Don’t ask me to get technical here because I cannot explain it, but the light from your flash will ruin your chances of capturing light from fireworks. Avoid weird light issues and just turn off the flash. Especially when you are getting a shot of fireworks!

Catch the Right Moment with Burst Mode

Try turning on burst mode. This one is my go-to. Probably because I have kids that never stop moving and do hilarious things in the flash of an eye. I am sure you all know how to use burst mode, but just in case: Hold down the Shutter button or Volume button to take a burst of pictures. It’s great for action shots, and again, the fireworks!!

Edit Your Photos after You Take Them

Try editing. It’s not cheating. It’s not lying. It’s editing. Make colors brighter or photos dreamier with just a few slides of your finger. Some of my favorite ways to edit photos are by adjusting the contrast, highlights and brightness.

Consider a Video

Sometimes the only way to truly capture the moment — the whole moment — is to take a video. You can also add some cool features when you take video, like slo-mo and time lapse.

Worried You’ll Miss the Moment? Start Early

Take a picture at the beginning of the night so you can relax and not feel like you HAVE to capture stuff later. I tend to follow this rule. The food looks better. Your hair looks better. The lighter is likely better. The only exception: Be sure to bring the phone back out when the fireworks start!

Enjoy the Moment

Because what’s the point in capturing these memories if you aren’t involved in any of them? My husband reminds me of this often. We bring a good balance — he’s always so grateful to have these moments that I have photographed to look back on, and I am so glad that he tells me to put the phone down and enjoy it.

katie kelly infomedia birmingham alabama

Katie loves creating and maintaining relationships, and her warm attitude — plus her ninja-like talent for scheduling and multi-tasking — makes her perfect for our client services team. You can always tell she’s smiling, even when she’s on the phone (even over email, which we can’t figure out), and when she meets you in person, she’ll probably give you a hug. She loves celebrating birthdays and she’s serious about chocolate chip cookies, but her real passion is her family — hanging out with her three kids is Katie’s favorite thing ever, and she sings in a band (Red Harp) with her husband, Garret.


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