Mouse Tech: Fireworks Photography Field Guide App Review

The Fourth of July is almost here and, with it, a chance to practice your fireworks photography skills before your next Walt Disney World vacation!

I typically use a point and shoot in the Parks, mostly because I hate the thought of having to carry it around my neck all day. Too much weight. But Tracy uses a nice camera, and I work with professional photographers all day, so my curiosity is great. I’ve been trying to learn, little by little, how to take proper photos.

The Fireworks Photography Field Guide is perfect for someone like me, who’s just learning about ISOs and aperture. And it’s lovely to boot! Though the app is anything but lightweight (coming in at 13.3 mb), it does have great style: a distressed, old-world, scrapbooked feel with an exceedingly simple menu:

Fireworks Photography Field Guide App Review (Mouse on the Mind)

Your first option is really the meat of the app, the Field Guide. It offers specific how-to advice for setting several settings required for taking a great fireworks photo: Setup, ISO, Aperture, Shutter Speed, Focusing and Start Shooting.

The descriptions are simple and to the point, although some of them are a bit overlong and require you to scroll. I found that somewhat bothersome.

Of course, as I mentioned, I am not photography expert, so I asked a professional photographer to take a look at the advice on the app. While he didn’t agree with all of the app’s suggestions (specifically about the range of recommended ISO and aperture settings), he did say that following these instructions will result in lovely fireworks shots with great depth of field.

Fireworks Photography Field Guide App Review (Mouse on the Mind)

The next option brings you to the sexiest part of the app: Examples. The app includes 12 sample images, including some shots from Disney Parks. I especially love the shot below, which highlights the Partners statue in Disneyland.

At first glance, this section of the app isn’t necessarily functional, but in fact, the captions are very instructive. By flipping through the photos, I learned a lot about how to compose and process lovely photos. It gave me some great ideas for different ways to set up shots on my next trip.

Fireworks Photography Field Guide App Review (Mouse on the Mind)

I expected the third section of this app – Gear – to be highly technical and include some specific recommendations. While it does not recommend a particular type of tripod or brand of lens, the app does explain why using these items will result in better photographs. This appeals to the nerd in me, for sure—I like to know why I’m being told to do things and how spending an extra few bucks on a remote shutter release will benefit me. And I feel like I actually learned something, rather than just following instructions.

Fireworks Photography Field Guide App Review (Mouse on the Mind)

The final section of the app is about Composition: telling a great story with your photos, creating an emotional impact and setting up the shot. This is great, simple advice: not too long and just instructive enough. As a storyteller, this really appealed to me.

Fireworks Photography Field Guide App Review (Mouse on the Mind)

If, like me, you prefer the portability of a point-and-shoot, then this app is not for you. But if you’re a newly-minted camera-bag toting member of the Awesome Photo Club, then this app is a portable, hand-held photography tutor, and it will help you take better fireworks photos with your dslr camera.


App Name: Fireworks Photography Field Guide (iTunes)
Developer: PowWows
Version: v1.1
Size: 13.3 MB
Available on: iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad (requires iOS 5.0 or later)
Price: $0.99
Overall: Perfect for this just learning how to use a slr camera

Disclosure: I received a copy of this app to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my own experience using the app.