Tomorrow is Bonfire, Fireworks or Guy Fawkes Night here in the UK. I wanted to share the above image with you as it illustrates my best tip for photographing bonfires and fireworks. I was originally planning to give an in-depth tutorial on firework and fire photography spanning over a number of days but I believe that I am not at the point in my photographic career to start dishing out full blown tutorials. Firework photography is generally about luck. My top tip for tomorrow night if you do go to a firework display with your camera, get some camera support. A tripod is what I recommend, a GorillaPod would also work but a monopod or leaning on your friend will not work. You need your camera fully supported so you can frame the photograph before the fireworks go off, as you see them lighting them you want to click the shutter, but have it on timer mode of a second or two. This means you do not move the camera even a tiny amount when the shutter is open.
Why is this so important? Well, two years ago I attended a firework display, my first with a digital camera. I was using my compact, I had it on auto mode but with the flash turned off (obviously). That evening I took 300 photographs, 299 were deleted and the 1 I kept was blurred (looked alright on the web, but in print was terrible). In contrast, this September I took 300 photographs at a firework competition, 150 were deleted and 12 were sharp and to a high standard – all thanks to using a tripod.