1. Use a Tripod
The most important tip is to secure your camera to something that will ensure it doesn’t move during the taking of your shots. This is especially important in photographing fireworks simply because you’ll be using longer shutter speeds which will not only capture the movement of the fireworks but any movement of the camera itself. Using a Tripod with accomplish this.
2. Remote Release
One way to ensure your camera is completely still during fireworks shots is to invest in a remote release device. this can be optional because they range from $20- $200 depending on which one you purchase. This will help with the camera shake but you still need to anticipate shots and the fireworks as they illuminate the sky.
3. Composition or Framing Your Shot
One of the most difficult parts of photographing fireworks is working out where to aim your camera. Remember it’s going to be dark, so where the fireworks will explode is like playing marko polo in the sky. best practices is to scout out the location that you want to shoot and plan out where to be, depending on what lens and the shot you want to get. most shows will only last a few minutes, show you want have a second chance to get the shot you want. and if you want more than one shot you need multiple cameras.
There are two main ways of framing shots, vertically (portrait) or horizontally (landscape). it’s up to you how you want to frame it but i find that landscape framing is good if you want a wide shot or far away, thats why it’s called landscape, duh……. and
portrait if you want a tighter shot of the fireworks, especially if you want to get the long tails of the fireworks before it burst into a huge fireball. but really its really up to you, some like vanilla and some like chocolate.
4. Focal Length and point
One of the hardest parts of photographing fireworks is having your camera focused on the right part of the sky at the right time. This is especially difficult if you’re shooting with a longer focal length and trying to take more tightly cropped shots. try to focus on something below on the ground where the fireworks will be and that will give you a good idea where to focus, or for the more advance people, manual set your focus to infinity if you are far and wide. you always can shoot wide and crop, but when you crop photos you loose pixels and quality.
Going on, if you don’t know about these things below read this post first. read more about aperture, shutter speed and ISO here
Aperture controls the depth of field of a photo, most photographers recommend using with f/8 to f/16. Try experimenting with these ranges to get the best results.
6. Shutter Speed
This will control how bright and clear the fireworks will appear in the photo. shorter shutter speed will create sharper and focused images and longer shutter speeds will have more of a glowly kind of look. trying starting off with 2-3 seconds exposures and make changes accordingly. If you have a shutter release this is where it really comes in handy, you can focus on looking into the sky and timing each shot and enjoying the show at the same time.
Shooting at a low ISO is preferable to ensure the cleanest shots possible. shooting at ISO 100 will give you good results.
8. Using a Flash
Don’t use it! turn it off, think about what a flash does, it lights the subject, and depending on how far away and how bright the flash is, it will not impact your shot in this case, unless you are 5 ft away from the fireworks or you have a flash the size of the sun, both of these options are not possible.
9. Shoot in Bulb or Manual Mode
Shooting in manual mode will let you have control over all the settings that are listed above, so don’t use any auto mode, especially auto focus, when everything is dark it will take a while to focus and you might miss the shot you want, focus on one firework burst and then turn off the autofocus, unless you change lens or move your position all your shots will be in focus.
10. Experiment and make changes
Check your results as you shoot the fireworks, make sure your getting awesome shots. by changing any of the points listed above will change your results of your photo. which one to change is up to you depending on how you want your photo to come out. I highly recommend that you look on the internet for “fireworks” and see what type of photos you want to capture. plan accordingly on how to get the shot you want. remember most fireworks shows last between 15-30 minutes and usually once a year, you won’t much have time to figure it out on the fly, so plan it out. remember great photos are not taken, but created.