Trial and error is the key when shooting fireworks. Here we offer some advice on technique to improve your chances of capturing stunning images of firework displays
o A simple compact camera can capture fireworks – some have a specific “fireworks” mode – or try the night scenes setting
o For more flexibility, use a DSLR with a standard zoom lens
o A tripod is essential
o Mount camera on a sturdy tripod and switch off image stabilisation
o Use a remote release to fire the shutter (or use the self-timer)
o Aim your camera in the direction of the display
o Arrive at public displays early to get a good spot – try to avoid getting other spectators in shot
o Use a moderate wide angle focal length (35mm-50mm or equivalent)
o Portrait framing is usually better than landscape, unless you want to capture more of the scene on the ground
o Low ISO for optimum quality
o Use a mid-range aperture (f/8-f/16) for deeper depth of field to cover focus errors
o Do not use flash
o Shoot in manual exposure mode – experiment with exposures from 5 seconds to 30 seconds
o Focus manually at or near infinity (small aperture will provide leeway through a large depth of field).
o Check results from time to time during the display – change viewpoint and zoom setting for a variety of images
o Set a shutter speed of 10 to 30 seconds (or even hold the shutter open in “Bulb” mode) and cover the lens with a piece of black card. Remove card to capture bursts. This will enable you to capture several bursts in one frame.
o Shoot plenty of shots to improve your chances of getting some “keepers”.
o Be ready early to take shots of the first fireworks as subsequent fireworks may be affected by smoke.