This is a continuation of my series on how to take great fireworks pictures year-round! Following these tips will greatly improve the quality of pictures you take, and you can use these tips with other motion-related photos, too.
High-quality pictures are the only pictures to take. Why waste your time taking less than high-quality pictures at such a show-stopping event? Save your images as anything but JPEGs, as they are the lowest quality pictures on a digital camera, if possible. It will also compress your pictures more, which also allows for lower quality. You can always change the file type later once loaded to a computer. If you can't help it, and must use JPEG, then focus on taking quality subject shots rather than quantity subject shots. High-quality pictures will have better colors, better concentration of color and a better overall picture than lower quality pictures.
Try the landscape mode. Many cameras now come with a landscape or panoramic mode. This allows for the photographer to take a wider shot and get a lot more into the picture. For the grand finale of a fireworks show, a landscape picture is an awesome way to capture some of the interaction between fireworks. Now, for most digital cameras, landscape mode is hands-on feature which means there's more room for error. So, make sure you've had plenty of practice and feel comfortable using it before trying to take pictures of fireworks for the first time.
Exposure time is key. While digital cameras are all the rage, they can lack when needing a decent exposure time in such cases when shooting fireworks. Overexposing a picture with that much light can often ruin the picture. If you know how to use your digital camera's exposure functions, you will be more than set, but most have not taken the time to learn that feature as they assume the camera will automatically do the work for them. This is not always the case.
Normally, you'll want to be able to expose moving pictures such as fireworks for one to four seconds. You can generally change this setting in your camera's options or menu. This allows for a full capturing of the movement of light in the fireworks themselves. If you don't expose for this long, you'll get a blurry picture at the very minimum. You'll lose many details if you under-expose, which is just as bad as over-exposuring the picture.
Choosing the right aperture size is imperative. If you have a basic shutting speed setting in your menu, you can control how long the shutter is open with ease. You want to open the shutter right when the firework explodes and closes it when it reaches its full-life. If you don't have an easy-to-set shutter speed, make sure the camera can at least choose a fixed setting of one second for optimal results.
These tips and tricks take time to implement, but the longer you put them into the practice, the better pictures you will take. Practice makes perfect, and perfect practice makes perfect picture, so, get out into the world and take perfect fireworks pictures!