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Get the Perfect Light Writing Sparkler Shot

Tips & Tricks

Every wedding photographer is always seeking to get the perfect image that will capture the unique setting, timing, and location of the big day. Bobby and Tanya of Frozen Exposure Photography + Cinematography have written up a quick tutorial on how to create unique wedding portraits using sparklers. Check it out and make your own photos shine!

Want to Re-Enact This Shot?

Brides: The “Light Writing Sparkler Shot” is always a favorite and such a cool way to celebrate, photographically, your new last name, or if your new last name is hard to write in “sparkler,” then spelling out “Love” is gorgeous, too!

  • This shot is even MORE fun when another couple helps with the writing! Especially if that couple is recently married or engaged!
  • Frozen Exposure recommends getting this photo in the middle of the reception, when everyone else is comfortable and after the “cake shot” so that you can be outside and have at least 15 minutes for this shot to be set up, laid back and fun.
  • It really turns out to be a special moment between the couple, and if you have some or all of the bridal party together helping, then it’s always super fun when everyone runs to the camera after the shot, sees how perfect it turned out, and jumps up and down screaming. This is always a moment of major camaraderie.

Photographers: Make sure to use the 36 inch sparklers  to prevent the sparkler from running out on you mid-word. Always remember to try this shot at a very low key time when the bride and groom are happy and ready to get 15 minutes away from the reception. In order to save time and be more efficient at shooting the sparkler shot be sure to practice before the wedding!

A Few Tips to Shooting a Light Writing Sparkler Photograph:

  1. Use a Canon 5D Mark III (or any camera with the ability to shoot long exposures) on a sturdy tripod. Use Bulb Mode and then start with a 10 second exposure.
  2. Use a Canon 24-70mm 2.8 L Series Lens set f/5.6 and a focal length of 34 (any mid length lens will work).
  3.  Two Canon 430EX II Speedlite Flashes, one to the left and one to the right, highlighting the couple. We also like highlighting the couple from behind to separate them from the background.
  4. Hold the shutter release button down, or use a cable release/intervalometer, while your assistant or a member of the bridal party writes the word with the sparkler and moves away from the image.
  5. Have two assistants/bridal party members release the flashes after the word as been written.
  6. End the shot.
  7. Hop up and down with the bridal party and get slaps on the back for how awesome you are!
  8. Have more time? Get creative! Have the bridal party make a heart around the couple or run around in circles with the sparklers.

This tutorial originally appeared on SnapKnot. Reprinted with permission. SnapKnot is  the exclusive wedding photography resource for Nordstrom, helping thousands of wedding photographers connect with more brides online and grow their businesses.

Are you photographing a wedding or engagement session soon? Try out one of our wedding package rentals! Learn more about light painting effects in photography: Intro to Light Painting with Olympus Trailblazer Jamie MacDonald.

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Katie Hayes

Social Media & Affiliate Marketing Intern at BorrowLenses
Katie Hayes is a recent graduate pursuing her passion for photography and marketing while interning with BorrowLenses.

Comments

  • Devin Trent says:

    This was very helpful, I plan taking some shots like this soon but where can I get the sparklers now that it’s August?

    I will share this post after I get a response ;-)

  • Depends where you live, but usually you can find them and fireworks sold near some indian reservations.
    \

  • There are year round fireworks stores but what we really recommend is this awesome site! http://m.weddingdaysparklers.com/sparklers.htm

  • I believe you can also find them at party stores, depending on local laws on fireworks (even minor ones, such as these). They are becoming fast favorites year-round for ceremonies and are increasingly easier to find.

  • Leave a comment, a question, or show us your work!