#1 LOCATION. LOCATION
Scout out your location ahead of time and arrive early. Good spots usually fill up hours before the fireworks show.
#2 LOCATION. DIRECTION
If you want a darker sky, shoot into the eastern sky not facing west. The sky in western shots may not be fully dark yet resulting in firework lights not looking as good as against a darker sky.
#3 Gear UP!
A DSLR or mirrorless camera is likely to be the best tool for photographing fireworks. However, some point-and-shoot cameras and smartphones offer 'fireworks' modes - experiment away! You will also need a sturdy tripod for longer exposures, spare batteries and plenty of space on memory cards.
#4 THE SETTINGS
MODE - Manual.
ISO - set it low - 100 or 200. Low ISO settings reduce noise in your shots and lets you shoot longer exposures without overexposing the shots.
SHUTTER SPEED - 2-10+ seconds. The choice is yours depending on what you want to achieve. Do some test shots before the show starts - see if the sky is too dark or too bright and adjust the exposure time accordingly.
APERTURE - f5.6-f16 shall be suitable for fireworks photography. Closing aperture down (using bigger number) will make the light trails thinner, opening up more will make them wider and possibly overexposed.
FOCUS - ideally manual - you don't want to miss the shot while auto-focus is 'hunting' when the action is happening. Be ready to adjust focus accordingly whether fireworks appear closer or farther than expected.
WHITE BALANCE - auto. Yes! Finally, the only setting you can leave on auto mode.
Make sure you leave enough room in your frame to count in the height of open bursts. Missed the 1st shot? No worries, re-frame and try both vertical and horizontal compositions.
Shoot most of your shots at the start of the show as a bit later the sky will be filled with smoke and haze. Feel free to experiment with close ups or abstracts towards the end of the show.
#7 BATTERY LIFE
Try avoiding using the live view in your camera as it will drain your battery faster - you didn't do all this hard work prepping for fireworks photography to walk out without an epic shot due to a dead battery.
p.s. Share your fireworks shots with me - can't wait to see what you've got!
p.p.s Save this link for easy access during the fireworks and share it with anyone who'll find these fireworks tips useful.