How many times have you taken your 'good camera' to a fireworks show and walked away with less then stellar images? Now is your chance to try again. Here are some basics for a good capture:
#1 Take a tripod
You will be working with slow shutter speeds and unless you are made out of stone, you will not be able to hold your camera steady enough.
#2 Be Strategic about Your Location
Put yourself in a place where you have people or other objects actually in the shot. This helps give perspective and interest to the actual firework. (similar to shooting the moon/sky). Silhouettes, skylines and anything reflective are great compliments to your actual subject.
#3 Be Trigger Happy
Timing is everything. Sometimes you can predict when the next shot will be fired, but since we live in a digital age, just keep pressing the trigger. You can cull it down later.
#4 Set Your Focus to Infinity
Here is a 'how to' article if you've never done this to your lens. This is crucial because at night your auto focus is going to fail you. Turn your lens to manual focus and turn it to the infinity symbol. This will allow you to push the trigger down every time.
#5 Shoot in Manual Mode
Start with your fstop around f14, your ISO to 200 and your shutter speed to at least 1 second. (Your shutter is what you will mess with more than anything - the longer the shutter speed, the more light it lets in, the more light trails of the fireworks you will capture) These settings are meant to give you a starting place. Experiment from there to see what works best for you - depending brightness of the fireworks and how far away you are from the display.
#6 Use A Fast Zoom Lens
I used a 70-200 2.8 lens for the images in this article. This allowed me to get in close to the action and gave me the flexibility to finesse the composition as needed without having to physically move forward or backward.
Have fun! Happy Independence Day. :D