I’m a keen amateur photographer but I always failed at firework photography until last year when I decided to get serious. I’ve put together this short guide.
Kit: camera, torch, tripod, charged battery (and spare), decent memory card, remote shutter release.
Location: Get to any display early, before the crowds to choose the right spot. You want somewhere which avoids obstacles such as buildings or trees, street lights, car lights and bright signs.
Wind: Stand upwind of the fireworks (wind blowing away from you). If you’re downwind smoke will probably block most of your shots!
Settings: I’ve finally mastered this! If you have a camera you can set to manual: Turn the flash off; Turn noise reduction on; Set ISO 100; Set Aperture to F11; Focus for landscape (slightly less than infinity – some cameras have a landscape setting); shutter speed – you need to experiment to find your preference – try everything from 1-15 seconds (NB. this is why you need the tripod and shutter-release cable, to avoid blurry photos).
If you only have an automatic (point-and-shoot) camera: Look for a firework setting. If you don’t have one, try the landscape setting and experiment. I found clicking as soon as I heard the ‘whoosh’ of the firework being launched meant I caught the firework more often than not.
Experiment: Try different settings, different shutter speeds and focal lengths. Use the torch to check and adjust settings. Enjoy the process and don’t forget to share your photos!