Taking a good photo of fireworks is right up there on the degree of difficulty with photographing lightning (I think photographing lightning is one of the hardest things to do). But when you get a great shot of some fireworks it can make for a fantastic photo canvas. There are a few tricks to try this 4th of July in getting some good fireworks photos.
1. Timing is everything. Most firework shows have a slow start and steadily ramp up toward the grand finale. Use the beginning stages to get your timing down, but you will probably get the best shots toward the beginning or end of the finale. Trying to get a good exposure during the onslaught of finale fireworks is very tough to do on the fly.
2. Shoot in manual mode with a slow shutter speed. But not slow enough that you lose all the color of the firework itself. This is a balancing act that you will do as they go off before the finale.
3. Find something stable to brace your camera with. A tripod is best but if you find yourself without one then use the ground, a park bench anything that is stable.
4. Experiment in Bulb mode. If you have a DSLR then see if your camera has Bulb setting. Go to manual mode then crank your shutter speed to as low as it will go and if a B or 'Bulb' shows up then you are golden. Bulb setting will keep the shutter open as long as you hold the shutter release, then closes when you release it. Fun to play around with, but very susceptible to camera shake and over exposure.
5. Keep shooting. You will get several that are in the "eh" category but you might get a few that really stand out as winners.
There you have it. And when you do get one of those shots that wows you and the whole fam, consider making it or a series of them into canvas prints. You know us...we love to see what people capture and we love printing your photos on canvas...especially something as fun and hard to pull off as fireworks.
Here is one I grabbed several years ago during the 4th of July at a Colorado Rockies game. Great memories. We got to go down onto the field to watch the fireworks show...the whole family was together. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy just thinking about it. That's what photos do...they bring back those great memories. Just food for thought ;-D