Can I be completely honest? I used to hate sparkler pictures!
They were often out of focus (the camera struggles to focus in the dark), skin tones looked horrific under the intense orange glow and often had to be converted into black and white, combined with the challenge of having guests using flash on their mobile phone creating a conflicting blue light with the orange. I used to dread them and was never happy with the resulting pictures!
That was until the day I discovered that they could be done while it was still light… and they looked AMAZING!!
Best. Day. Ever.
Now I am addicted. I am obsessed! I absolutely looooove doing sparkler pictures and these unique-style sparkler pictures are becoming quite the highlight for many of my wedding clients.
If you would like to have sparkler pictures like these at your wedding, there are some golden rules you must take note of. Neglect these are things can quickly descend into anarchy or mean we can’t get the best pictures we could have. So here it is: my ultimate guide to getting the best sparkler pictures EVER!
Make sure you have enough lighters!
This is the most common mistake, even after insisting it’s importance before the wedding. You MUST, MUST, MUST have plenty of ways to light the sparklers (1 lighter per 4 people is perfect), candles, matches or lighters are all fine. The challenge is, we need everyone to light their sparklers at the exact same time, and be able to get into position, and give us plenty of time to have some fun and create some beautiful pictures… and all before the sparklers burn out! It can be a bit hectic. But getting everyone’s sparklers lit at the same time is the biggest factor that guarantees success.
What type of sparkler?
The only thing to really be aware of is that you need long sparklers. The short ones just don’t give us enough time to get all the above done in time. Getting extra long sparklers ensures that we can definitely get the pictures you are hoping for.
How many sparklers?
You will need 2 sparklers per person including 2 for me (very important, this is how I create the bursts of light near the camera.)
How many people?
Here you have a choice:
a) Larger group
You can involve a lot of people (around 20-30 or more) which creates a fun buzz. The downside is the extra stress of organising that many (often quite merry by this point) guests.
If you want to involve a lot of people then you MUST have several loud-mouthed helpers to help me get everyone in two lines and tell them NOT light their sparklers before we are all ready.
b) Smaller group
Choosing a smaller group of people (around 10-12) can create a fun intimate feel and softer pictures and easier to organise.
One thing a few of my brides have chosen to do is, do a big group first and then do it all again but with a smaller group. This is actually perfect! It enables me to get totally different types of pictures and gives you even more variety in your pictures, like this:
The last crucial ingredient is the time of the day. When it comes to lighting, you can follow my lead, I will let you know when it is perfect. We want the moment just after sunset but before the light is gone. This can be a short window, may come earlier on a cloudy day and, for a winter weddings, may fall before or even during dinner. Don’t worry, this is not something you need to think about, I will find the perfect light for us, which will mean watching the sky on the day and picking just the right moment.
Keep your hands free
It is tempting to pick up a couple of sparklers yourself but it is better if you keep your hands free. This allows you to connect and move and dance together which is going to look sooo much more romantic in your final pictures. (ps. Don’t forget to put your drinks down too!)
Once all the fun is over we’ll need somewhere safe to put the hot sparklers, a bucket of sand is usually perfect. It is worth chatting to your venue about how they would prefer you to dispose of the old sparklers.
I know, it can feel self-conscious to be the centre of attention but this is your moment, this is your day! Enjoy it… and walk slowly!
My camera is having to work quite hard to focus with so many sparks flying around, so if you walk nice and slowly it will give my camera plenty of time to find you and create those killer pictures.
Make a connection
I can create the setting, I can control the lighting and I can add the sparkles but what I can’t do is add the magic between the two of you… that bit is up to you! Have fun, dance, laugh, kiss, snuggle… the more the better. The more you move, the better the pictures will be.
And don’t forget your facial expressions, if you pull odd faces, they will end up in your pictures so keep smiling, keep laughing and keep connected with each other.
Don’t worry, I will be on hand to help you and remind you what to do, together we will make sure these are the best sparkler pictures ever!