Here is an article I published on my website about fireworks photography. I hope it'll be useful to some of you in this forum.
5 Tips for Photographing Fireworks
by Gary Hendricks
Imagine youíre at a celebration event, camera in hand, waiting for a fireworks display. Thereís a certain excitement when you shoot pictures of fireworks. Maybe itís because the lights move so fast. Maybe itís because shooting these pictures require tricky exposure settings. In any case, I find shooting fireworks to be one of the most interesting types of photography. To help those who are new to this genre of photography, here are some good tips to follow.
A spectacular display of fireworks
Tip 1: Remove UV or Polarizing Filters
This is always my first tip to photographers shooting fireworks. Remove the UV or polarizing filters from your camera before the fireworks display. I have, on many occasions, forgotten to do this and the results were often disastrous. By the time I got the lenses off, Iíd have missed several minutes of the fireworks display.
Tip 2: Right Angles to the Wind
Try to position yourself at right angles to the wind. Positioning yourself in this manner ensures that the light bursts in the fireworks streak across you as you snap pictures. This creates the interesting fireworks streaking effect you see in so many photos out there. The other advantage is that smoke will be blown out of your frame faster, giving rise to nicer, cleaner shots.
Tip 3: Bring the Tripod
Fireworks (and night photography in general) require long exposures. As such, always remember to bring your tripod along for the occasion. Ensure that you set up the tripod and try out some sample exposure settings way before those fireworks come on.
Tip 4: Focusing
As the fireworks display comes on, I think itís pretty important to focus on the first few bursts of fireworks. Taking the time to do this will ensure that you have nice, well-focused shots subsequently. Many amateurs tend to get excited once we see and hear the fireworks, and forget about focusing altogether.
Tip 5: Background
Another thing to look out for when photographing fireworks Ė check the background of the picture. Ensure that there are no city lights or moon in the background. The presence of these lights will diminish the impact of the fireworks display.
In summary, fireworks are a beautiful thing to photograph. However, they do present a special challenge in that the lights come out for only a short time. Moreover, the exposure settings can be tricky. If you keep practicing though, Iím sure that one day youíll become an expert at photographing fireworks.