I have made a few half hearted previous attempts to photograph fireworks, but with the arrival of Canada Day, I decided to sort out some good methods. Here is what I found:
Scope out your best place to shoot ahead of time. Arrive while there is still enough light to see, make sure there are no obstructions and that you have a nicely composed view to frame your shot.
Use a tripod, you need to have a rock solid base to eliminate camera shake.This is especially true when using long exposures.
Use a remote shutter. Although you can get by without it, it will make life much easier. Not only does it reduce camera shake, but it lets you work from a comfortable position, perhaps sitting on your comfy chair.
Camera settings. You want to look at long exposures times in order to get long colorful light streamers, anywhere from 6 to 10 seconds. You also want to keep the background dark to set them off. If you shoot in Bulb mode, you will be able to easily control the length of the shot. Open your shutter at the beginning of the fireworks explosion and close it when the trails begin to fade. A good depth of field and low ISO will give you clean focused shots, as well as keeping the background dark. I started with f/11 and ISO100 and was prepared to adjust from there but found that suited.
I think I have the general idea now and next time perhaps I can get some more creative shots. Following is my favorite fireworks image from Trey Ratcliff (Stuck in Customs)
All Images are Available for Licensing at Singular Video&Pix