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Best Practices for Sparkler Photography at Celebrations

July 24, 2018

Wondering how those people on your Facebook or Instagram feed produce such cool looking sparkler photos? From hearts made of light to a glowing cursive sprawl that spells your name, there's a lot of fun things you can try when you learn how to photograph sparklers. Here are a few tips for taking the best photos of sparkler fireworks at your next big celebration.

Fireworks by the sea.

Take Pictures With a Real Camera

Sure, your smartphone might take great pictures in the daylight. However, it wasn't meant capture nighttime shots. The best camera to use to capture sparkler fireworks in action is a DSLR, as this camera lets you adjust your settings exactly where you need them to be.

Some of the settings you should tweak on your camera include:

ISO - You'll want a higher ISO than normal, as this increase the amount of light in the photo. There's no need to go too high, however - an ISO of 400 should suffice.

Shutter speed - You'll want a long shutter speed, as this is the only way your camera will get enough light to process the image. Anything longer than three seconds is ideal.

Aperture - Your aperture doesn't have to be anything too extreme; settling for an f8 setting will provide good depth and keep your subject in focus.

Manual focus - Your camera won't be able to autofocus in the dark, so you'll need to set the focus manually. Have someone hold a flashlight on the subject while you adjust the lens to perfectly focus on your subjects.

Try a Tripod

You'll need to be extremely still when taking the photo, otherwise it will look blurry and out of focus. Unless you can channel the stoic nature of a statute, consider hooking up your camera to a tripod. It will keep things stable so you can take as many shots as you want.

Use Longer Sparklers

Unfortunately, sparkler fireworks don't stay lit for very long. If you're planning on doing multiple photos takes, you'll need to move fast if you want to capture it all with a single sparkler.

One way to circumvent this issue is to use longer sparklers. Not only does this prevent your subjects from burning their hands, but it also gives you more time to take that postcard-worthy snap. Always look for sparklers that are at least 10 inches in length.

Wait Until Dark

You might be tempted to try and get some cool shots of sparklers while the sun is setting, but you'll probably just end up being disappointed. For the fun illuminated effect to truly shine, it needs to be as dark as possible out.

This means you should wait for at least an hour after the sun has set to start having your photo shoot. Additionally, stay away from lights, cars, and anything else that could brighten up the background.

If you follow these tips, you'll learn how to photograph sparklers in no time. All it takes is a bit of practice. Stock up on the sparklers you'll need for your celebration by shopping our large catalog of fireworks today.