In honor of Independence Day here’s a repost of my tips for photographing fireworks.
Shooting fireworks can be a lot of fun and can produce some very interesting images. I usually like to keep my ISO low (100) and experiment with different f/stops & shutter speeds depending on the effect I am looking for. This image was shot on Manual at f/3.2 at 1/60th of second with an ISO of 100. Try to focus on something in the distant background using manual focus. If you want longer trails, use longer shutter speeds. For shorter trails use shorter shutter speeds. To learn more about f/stops and shutter speeds and how to use your camera visit my basic camera controls tutorial.
Don’t worry too much about your light meter as it will be tricked by the dark sky and tend to overexpose giving you milky grey skies. Try different settings and review your LCD to preview the composition of your images and your histogram so that you don’t overexpose the highlights. Remember, the shutter speed will determine the length of the trails.
Adding something interesting to your foreground can also create some interesting effects. Buildings, lakes, bridges and trees are a few examples. If you choose to do this you will want to use a tripod to keep your camera steady during the longer exposures. Shoot LOTS of photos to make sure you get some heroes!
Oh yeah, leave your flash OFF!