Photograph sparklers for a fun way to celebrate the 4th of July when you have little ones. I haven’t seen a big fireworks show since the kids were born. Let’s be real, it’s WAY past bedtime and dealing with two tired, cranky kids while fighting traffic does not sound like fun to me. Plus, they hate the vacuum cleaner. So loud firework booms would be even worse! But sparklers are nice and quiet and you can do them anytime.
Last year a friend showed us this cool trick for making sparklers a little safer for kids to hold. (Use common sense and safety precautions when giving any child a flaming item, as I take no responsibility for your kids!)
With the upcoming holiday, I thought a photo recipe on how to photograph sparklers was the perfect lesson for this week! When Milo was only a few months old I decided to try capturing his name in sparkler trails. I love how it turned out. I can’t wait to try a few new things this year.
SET UP: You will need a dark location. It doesn’t have to be pitch black, but keep in mind that you will be using a long shutter speed (see settings below) so you will be capturing more light then you think! Grab a tripod or a flat surface and books to secure your camera. I used a tripod and a remote timer to avoid any camera shake when pressing the shutter. Have your sparklers ready and lit just before you press the shutter! If you’re trying to do a word, enlist helpers to each write a letter!
SETTINGS: Set your ISO to 100. Since the background is dark, you don’t need a blurry buttery background, and you can use aperture to help darken your image since the shutter speed would be long. Choose an aperture of f/8-f/11. Finally choose a shutter speed of 1 second. Take a test photo to make sure you’re capturing the movement like you would like. If not slow your shutter speed down even more.
COMPOSE: Here you have the freedom of horizontal or vertical, depending on what design you’re choosing to create with sparklers. For my “MILO” photo I chose to fill the frame with his name by shooting horizontally.
Now it’s your turn. The fun thing about sparklers is that you’re in control. You can light another one and try again. You can also create different shapes and designs that the kids might love doing and seeing what you capture!
Maybe this year I will attempt to write “SAWYER.” Who wants to do it with me?!