When the New Year arrives, fireworks will be going off in cities all around the world. Whether you plan on celebrating with the crowds here in Oz or overseas, some simple shooting tips and handy apps will help you capture the spectacular with your smartphone.

Great fireworks photographs rely on slow shutter speeds, where controls within the camera work to keep the shutter mechanism open long enough for the light trails against the dark sky to be captured to the sensor.

The camera function within a smartphone tends to lack this level of control, but armed with basic photo knowledge and some useful apps, you can overcome some of the limitations of your hardware.

Hold still

One of the most important criteria for achieving a long exposure is stability. Any movement of the camera will cause the image to blur, so the key here is to hold still. With a device as small as a smartphone, though, that’s difficult.

A tripod makes a world of difference here, and there are models available for smartphones. They’re often tiny  (read: portable), flexible and not very expensive.  And they work a treat when anchored firmly to a surface.

Joby – makers of the GorillaPod – have been making flexible tripods for ages, and you can easily equip most smartphones (including the iPhone) with one of these.

Alternatively, grab a phone stand and sit your phone inside it.

Joby's GorillaPod allows you to attach a flexible tripod to something sturdy like a pole.