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!


This was a valued rug”  “Am I wrong?”  “You mean Johnson?”  “Ah…that must be exhausting”  “Mind if I do a J?”  “My dirty undies dude….the whites”  “You’re killing your father Larry”  “Obviously you’re not a golfer”….I could keep going here but I think you know what I am getting at….It’s a Lebowski art walk man!  If you haven’t seen this movie (which is criminal it that is the case) you will still have a seriously good time.  Over 30 artists have come together to represent one of the funniest movies ever made.  Appropriate refreshments will be provided and you may even find a bowling alley.  So don’t be un-dude and abide and come to this art walk because if you don’t you are entering a world of pain.


Urban Light Studios has been described as Candy Land for Photographers”.  I happen to agree.  You can stroll along the paths through the rooms and find endless backdrops nooks and crannies to shoot with.  In addition to this incredibly vast and unique setting all of our lighting and grip equipment is included in every rental.  For a limited time only (June July & August 2013) we are offering a free trade up on our monthly affiliate program.  What does that mean you ask?  Well it means that for the price of 10 monthly hours you get 16 and for the price of 16 monthly hours you get 24!  Read up about our monthly affiliate levels here.  For some inspiration on how various photographers have used this amazing space check out our Shot at ULS gallery here.  Because let’s be honest who didn’t at one point in their lives want to call Candy Land home?

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