Stake Your Claim (Early)
Working photographers understand the importance of arriving early to scout the best location. This strategy can help you position yourself away from the crowd of spectator heads creeping into your frame – as well as other obstructions that might block your shot. Look for open areas clear of trees and other potential obstacles.
Try a Tripod
A tripod is an important photography tool and provides numerous benefits. The added stability will be key in helping you capture a sharp fireworks burst. Although we try to keep our hands steady, it’s inevitable that we will introduce a bit of camera shake. A tripod will eliminate this issue and put you in position to capture clearer shots. A tripod can also provide an added bonus of ‘saving your place’ if you stage it (without your camera) in your chosen shooting location.
A remote trigger release is a perfect complement to your tripod because they work hand-in-hand to give you stability and flexibility in shooting. A remote will allow you to focus your attention more directly on your subject so that your timing is spot on. Remote triggers are often used in timed exposure photography.
Shoot Slow (Shutter Speed)
Part of capturing the perfect fireworks shot is understanding a fireworks burst takes time to unfold and expand, so your shutter speed needs to be slower to accommodate that time lapse. You can select timing from one to several seconds on a DSLR. Ideally, you want the shutter to open at the beginning of the burst and then close at the peak of the burst. This takes a bit of practice and anticipating timing but you’ll find you improve quickly.