Fireworks is a lovely thing to photograph but it may seem hard at first. I’ve been doing it for the past three years now and really feel that I’m getting the grip around it! I hope it helps to clear up some stuff if you are unsure since I’ve gotten a lot of questions about it this year, and that you go out and try it tonight, it is really cool and fun.
First off dial in Manual mode and set the aperture to f/11 or f/13 or something in the likes then set the shutter speed to Bulb, usually indicated by a B. Now when the firework explode, press the shutter and then when the burst has exploded and is wearing off, you let go of it and you should have a working picture of a firework. If you wish to capture many in one frame, just keep it pressed and make sure the frame is pitch black until the next firework goes up. Adjust the aperture as fits between the shots.
It’s best to have a camera that you have full manual mode on but special firework modes can work, although best result is given with a full manual mode. It’s really necessary to have a tripod because you’ll be working with second long exposures that you simply can’t hand-hold. Also learning from own mistakes, never extend the center column on the tripod, even if it feels like you need to, I did it last year only with a good sacrifice in quality in the images.
It also helps if you have a remote release to minimize camera shake further as well. I think also a lens in the zoom range of 18-55 or similar works really well because it allows you to get close enough in the sky (if you are close) and also to get some foreground in there as well if you want to, without changing lenses, changing lenses is a no-no, you just won’t have the time.
Position and Preparations
Get to the fireworks display in time and make sure that you know where they are going to be shooting from and set up in a good place where you can see the display and if you want also include some foreground such as the water or something alike. Also make sure you have clean memory cards that are formatted and that they work, also make sure to have your batteries charged and working! Don’t forget to take something warm to wear if it is cold outside either, and good gloves!
I hope this little article can benefit you and it is really fun to photograph fireworks! Questions; post them! I’m going to be here most of the evening apart from the time when I’m going to be out photographing the city fireworks.