Sparklers aren't just fun on 4th of July, there are plenty of occasions where these little sticks of light can come in quite handy and add that perfect, illuminated touch. Take a wedding for example, a great excuse to bust out some sparklers to create some AMAZE-BALLS photos! A photographer is basically someone that is obsessed with light, so if you are getting married soon and you really want to try out some creative lighting techniques in photos, your photographer will most likely be more than happy to oblige you on this request (and maybe even burst with joy...in their head). We tried out a sparkler photo last weekend that we have been itching to try and lucky for us, our awesome couple Lauren and Derek, were more than happy to be our models :) Check out this incredible shot we captured!:
Want to know how to do this? Of course you do. Things you will need:
Speedlite and/or a video light
A bride and a groom
An assistant or willing participant
A can-do attitude
The photo above was shot at ISO 125, F/14 and a 15 second exposure. This was achieved by placing the camera on a tripod to minimize blurring and we shined a video light (off camera) onto Lauren and Derek so the camera was able to focus on the subject. The video light also served somewhat as a substitute for a flash and "froze" our subject. We were relying mainly on ambient light and the light produced by the sparklers to illuminate the photo. Have your assistant run around the couple several times with sparklers in both hands and then wave their hands up and down to create the swirled effect around them. Another way this could be captured is with a speedlite on or off camera. The speedlite will fire at the beginning of the exposure "freezing" your subject so that they will be sharp and in focus. A smaller aperture, like the one we used, will produce thinner more precise sparkler lines where as a bigger aperture will produce a thicker more "blown-out" sparkler effect. This is all just a matter of preference and the overall look you are going for.
Below are two photos of the classic sparkler send-off shot of the bride and groom. These photos are shot using two different methods; the one on top is shot using only available light and the one on the bottom is shot using a balance between available light and speedlite. This is achieved by using the speedlite to freeze your subject and then shooting at a slightly longer exposure (approx 20 sec).
And if your couple is extra cool and they bring light sabers to their wedding, you can get some super fun dancing photos like this (*note* light sabers are not required to create this shot):
This is achieved by using a technique called "dragging the shutter". You need a zoom lens and a speedlite to create this shot. The speedlite again is serving the purpose of freezing your subject. This was shot at ISO 400, F/3.5 and a 5 second exposure with an 18-200 lens. Start with the lens fully zoomed out and as soon as you push the shutter button, zoom the lens in all the way very quickly. This will give you the "dragged" or "pulled" light effect. Fun huh?! Now go out and give it a try and have a blast!