Before we get into talking about the techniques of shooting fireworks with a digital SLR I want to just point out that by themselves, fireworks are actually a pretty boring subject to photograph. If you zoom in on a firework it'll probably look cool for a minute on the back of the LCD screen, but I can promise you'll never be interested in looking at it again. To get a great firework photo you need a complete image that tells a story. You need an amazing firework display in an amazing setting to get amazing firework photos. You can see in the photo below the ball field makes an interesting foreground, there's a great set of fireworks in the air, and the beautiful downtown St. Louis skyline with the St. Louis Arch makes for a great firework photo.
  • ISO 500
  • Shutter Speed 1 second
  • f/5.6 

Firework photography with a digital SLR is pretty easy once you know how to do it. The first key to learning  how to take firework photos is that you need to take a long exposure. Anywhere from 1 to 3 seconds is usually fine for firework photography. There's not really a perfect exposure length since fireworks can be very different from each other and some might look better with a shorter or longer exposure than others.

Since the firework photos will be long exposure photos, the next most important thing is that you'll need to be shooting from a tripod. Fireworks usually draw a crowd so it's sometimes hard to set up a tripod, but it's very important to have a very steady DSLR camera.

The image above is an example of how fireworks without a nice background or foreground don't look very interesting on their own.

The two images below look somewhat interesting to some people, but only if they're more in the category of fine art rather than firework photos.



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