Some tips from Digital Photography School on how to capture the perfect shot of fireworks. This is an abbreviated version, for all the why’s and wherefores read the original article here.
1. Use a tripod.
2. Get a remote release device (so you don’t have to move the camera to push the shutter release)
3. Frame the shot ahead of time, consider what will be in the pic, reflections, background etc. Think about wind direction so you’re not getting the smoke in front of your shots.
4. Aperture: mid to small range f/8 – f/16
5. Shutter speed: If possible use ‘bulb’ mode, where you can just hold the shutter open yourself. Hit the shutter just as firework is about to explode and hold down until firework is finished.
6. ISO – lower levels, 100 should be good
7. Don’t use the flash.
8. Use manual mode and try to pre-focus your shot before the fireworks start.
Here’s some miscellaneous tricks too:
“Find Out the Direction of the Wind – You want to shoot up wind, so it goes Camera, Fireworks, Smoke. Otherwise they’ll come out REALLY hazy.”
“Also, I find that if you shoot from a little further back and with a little more lens, you can set the lens to manual focus, focus it at infinity and not have to worry about it after that.”
“Remember to take advantage of a zero processing costs and take as many pictures as possible (more than you’d normally think necessary). That way, you’ll up your chances of getting that “perfect” shot.”
“Make sure you are ready to take pictures of the first fireworks. If there isn’t much wind, you are going to end up with a lot of smoke in your shot. The first explosions are usually the sharpest one.”
“Get some black foam core and set your camera to bulb. Start the exposure when the fireworks start with the piece of foam core in front of the lens. Every time a burst happens move the foam core out of the way. You will get multiple firework bursts in one exposure”
“Another tip I would add to this is pre-focus if possible (need to be able to manually focus or lock down focus for good) before the show starts so other elements in the frame are sharp They did mention that you only need to focus once but its a lot easier to take a few shots before the show starts and check them carefully rather than wait until the show has begun and you are fiddling with focus instead of watching fireworks!”
Read more: http://www.digital-photography-school.com/how-to-photograph-fireworks#ixzz1Qtiwqr3B