“Have you ever tried to spell an invisible letter with a burning stick
when you’ve had more than your fair share of Champers?”
I often get asked about how to take those lovely sparkler photos at weddings, so here’s a handy little guide to those burning beauties.
Rule number one in my ‘world of weddings advice’ is to simply ‘enjoy the moment’. Let go and allow yourself to have a great day. Your wedding is not a photo shoot and worrying about whether or not a particular photo is going to work on the day is bad karma, and worrying won’t help anyway. With that said, there are a couple of things which can be done to achieve beautiful, fun wedding sparkler photos.
Wedding Sparkler Photos – How to get it right in one go!
Sparkler ‘Elf & Safety’
So I’m going to say this first. They’re really hot, you’re guests are really drunk, and it’s really dark. Sadly I’ve seen people at weddings get badly burned by sparklers. A couple of buckets of water available at the end of the sparkler photo are perfect for guests to pop their hot used sparklers in. Take a quick look and check if any part of your wedding dress flammable? If it is you might not necessarily want an arch of sparklers to run through. Perhaps consider a static position and surround yourself with guests holding sparklers, rather than having them overhead or too close to you. Your sparkler photos will look best when we’re not in A&E.
Get LOTS of Sparklers
Get lots more sparklers than you think you’ll need! It’s difficult to pretend you’re having the time of your life if there are only a couple of sparks flying, and with big groups you can guarantee there will be a couple of people who will excitedly light their sparklers up well before they’re supposed to… this always happens! …always…
Have LOTS of lighters available
So you’ve bought loads of sparklers, great! Don’t forget that they’ll need to be lit at the same time. One lighter just won’t do it, you’ll need a good few of them. The most common thing I see when photographing wedding sparklers is that half of them have gone out whilst the other half are still being lit. Or that they’ve been forgotten altogether and guests are running about trying to pinch candles from the venue or borrow lighters and matches from the kitchen, which normally spells the beginning of the end for a wedding sparkler photo.
Stand still and smooch or run through?
My personal favorite way of photographing wedding sparklers (with groups) is to have a simple ‘confetti line up style’ shoot. But have a think about what you’d actually like to do when they’re all lit, as deciding you’d like a smoochy photo when you’ve spent the 90 seconds ‘burn time’ chatting with your Aunt it’s just going to be too late. Unless you like keeping your guests out in the cold for endless sparkler photo attempts. They won’t appreciate it, and cold rainy weather kills the happy wedding vibe faster than you can say “I do”. Pick a pose and hold it there.
“Wouldn’t it be good if…”
So you’ve gone on Pinterest and Google and you now have a thousand ideas for wedding sparkler photos. That’s great, but just remember that they take time, and on a wedding day time is our number one enemy. Spelling out various initials or heart shapes is great fun, but may take several attempts to get looking great (have you ever tried to spell an invisible letter with a burning stick when you’ve had a few glasses of Champers?), and this time often burns up our opportunity (excuse the pun) to achieve other creative portraits with you both. It’s just a trade off as to what is most important to you.
Mobiles phones away please people
Sparklers look best in photos when they’re not competing for attention with the backlit screens of mobile phones and other devices… unless you love that look of course (said no one ever)!