Fireworks are beautiful. Photos of them can be, too. But you need to adjust the settings on your camera and take the time to experiment. Here are the key techniques for getting keepers from a challenging photographic subject.
1. Use a tripod. Because of the long shutter speeds fireworks require, camera motion can ruin your shot. Mounting the camera on a tripod is best, but if you can't do that, seat it on something stable, such as a fence and table. With an advanced camera, such as an SLR or mirrorless SLR-like, you can further reduce the chances of camera shake by using a remote release to trigger the shutter. Or, if you can seat the camera without having to hold it, try its self-timer, which can minimize some camera shake.
2. Check your camera’s scene modes. If you’re nervous about setting your digital camera on manual, many digital cameras, basic and advanced, include a simpler option: a fireworks scene mode. If your camera doesn't have one, try the night scene mode.
3. Dial down the ISO. If you’re not satisfied with your camera’s fireworks scene mode, try setting the camera to manual mode, so you can control the shutter speed, aperture, and ISO yourself. In most cases, you’ll want to dial down the ISO to 100, in order to minimize any image noise. Then, set your aperture at f/8 or f/16. (Note: Many basic models don't allow you to change these settings manually.)