It was my first time to shoot fireworks today. It wasn't easy but the hard parts came from areas that I did not expect. I did learn some stuff though!
Here are a few things I learned. Take note that I am still very much a beginner in DSLR photography. I learned a few concepts with my point-and-shoot but it's just recently that I really got to apply them with a DSLR camera. Anyway here are my tips for fireworks photography.
1. Make sure you are not near any other light source. Your light source should only be the fireworks themselves.
2. Set your ISO to 100. This keeps the sky black (I think.)
3. Choose Shutter Speed priority in your camera (I use Canon) or whatever equivalent it has.
4. Set the shutter speed to 4" or 5" depending on the effect you want. Longer times will have longer 'light tails' and shorter ones will have more crisp and shorter lines.
5. Use a tripod. This is a requirement. If you don't have a tripod, at least get something to mount your camera on. You can't shoot at slow shutter speeds with bare hands unless your arms, legs and hands are literally steady as a rock.
6. Shut off the flash. You don't need it.
7. Get to the area early and stake out the possible good positions. Make sure you don't capture anything else like trees or buildings. Fireworks displays normally don't last very long. It'd be a waste of time for you to look around for spot while the show is on-going.
If you're a beginner like me, don't expect to get all good shots. I shot a fireworks display tonight that lasted for a few minutes and I got around 5 almost decent shots. Most of my shots have trees and electrical wires in them which was a mistake in my positioning. I didn't move as I figured the display wont last long. By the time I set-up my tripod and camera at a new spot, the show would be over.
I shot at SM City Batangas tonight. I wish I can share this info with the others who are taking pictures of fireworks that night. I saw a lot of people with cameras, maybe 3 or 4 with DSLR's, but only one had a tripod. Their effort might have gone to waste since it's tricky to shoot fireworks. I mean if I took photos of fireworks and it didn't look good, I'd be greatly disappointed because I wasted my time taking photos when I could have just sat back and enjoyed the pretty lights. Fireworks displays are not very common especially in my town. And it's not if I can afford those expensive fireworks myself! lols
Anyway, I hope this helped you. If you know more tips or if I mentioned something that doesn't sound right, please leave a comment. Cheers! Merry Christmas!
Oh, and here are some shots I took tonight:
See the tree leaves and electrical wires on the two pictures above? Totally killed the it. :(
See the patches of light here? That's from a light from a billboard. I was directly under a billboard.
Shot using Canon EOS 500D 18-55 mm kit lens. Edited with Gimp.