Photography & Video Tips for A Better 4th of July

Megan Etzel


The fireworks are here, the juicy burgers and beer are endlessly flowing, and you’re donning red, white, and blue… yup, it’s definitely a July 4th barbecue.

This year, we’ll give you tips on how to capture all the glory of Independence Day and those ever-changing firework displays and put it all into an Animoto video.

July 4th Celebration Red, White, and Blue

1. Go Big or Go Home

Wear your loudest and brightest hues of red, white, and blue. Throw some star stickers on your face and necklaces around your neck. Go all out for your barbecue gathering!

2. Get the Right Angles

July 4th Patriotic Spirit

Collect a lot of photos and video clips to work with. Start with a shot of the whole barbecue scene with lots of sunshine (hopefully), burgers, a pool, and good company. Definitely a couple of group shots of people in good conversation. Even hold up an American flag if you’re feeling extra patriotic – it makes for a great backdrop.

3. Capturing Fireworks on Camera

Fireworks are tricky to capture. For cameras with manual settings, we recommend a slow shutter speed (about a few seconds) to let enough light in to capture it, Careful, though – you have to have a super steady hand (or a tripod) so it isn’t blurry. Also, play around with aperture (but not too wide because you’ll lose color, so keep it focused around f/8).

July 4th Fireworks

If you have a regular (but just as great) digital camera with no modes, just make sure the flash is off and use the nighttime mode if one exists. Many digital cameras today come with a specific fireworks setting!

Better yet, choose from our selection of videos clips (this will be much easier – so you can sit there and enjoy your fireworks without worrying if they were captured on film). Under “celebrations” we have many video clips of streaming flags and booming fireworks (even some behind the Statue of Liberty!)

4. Choose Music for Your Video

Put away the soft, mellow tunes and break out your party mix for a video with pop! Here are some of our suggestions:


Back Where I Belong – The Ranchhands (Pro)

Indie Rock

4th of July –The Brightwings (Pro)
The Party’s On (instrumental) – Mike Gallagher

Family Fun

In The Sun – Finn Wallace (Pro)
Beautiful Day – Ryan Huston (Pro)

5. Pick a Video Style


Play off the steam of those fireworks!


Cool things down a bit.


No need for lots of background images when your colorful photos and videos tell the story.

Infinite Collage

Awesome for the scrapbook-style look.

6. Share Your Video!

Send your video of the party and fireworks to everyone who came to your barbecue and thank them for bringing a blanket, a decorative dessert, or the patriotic napkins. Or, thank the host! Share your video on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Blogger, WordPress, you name it!

Upload your photos and videos and make your own one-of-a-kind 4th of July video slideshow!