How to get epic sparkler photos on your wedding day
Sparklers are such a fun alternative to confetti, some may argue they're an even better option. Not that it has to be an either/or situation, of course! There's definitely a knack to getting the best out of your sparkler photos, and who better to advise you than a wedding photographer who's done it all many times before? Read on for my tried and tested sparkler tips.
It doesn't have to be pitch dark
Whenever I do sparkler shots I try to arrange for them to happen before it's fully dark. It sounds counterintuitive I know, but when it's pitch black outside the sparklers don't actually cast all that much light to illuminate the scene, and personally I find artificial flash can kill the "glow" a bit. Dusk/blue hour (just after sunset) is the best time I'd say, as the light is low and even. But it'll work well before sunset too. Especially if you're in the shade and not in direct sun. There are a few other advantages to doing it a little earlier:
If your wedding is here in Scotland, or somewhere else on a similar latitude, long summer days mean it won't get properly dark until long after your photographer has finished up. So you'll either have to pay overtime (which isn't cheap!) or have them start later and sacrifice the earlier parts of the day. Neither is ideal.
Another added benefit of doing it earlier in the evening rather than the very end is that your guests will still be (fairly) sober. Well, sober enough to handle sparklers without giving me the fear at least!
Do consider what effect having your sparkler photos a little earlier will have on the party if everyone leaves the dance floor at once... Maybe you just want to have a select group for these photos, rather than the whole party? Otherwise, it might be worth talking to the band and seeing if they can time their break to coincide with the mass exodus.
First up, clear it with your venue
Always check with your venue if they even allow sparklers on their premises – some don't! Some venues have strict fire regulations, so you always want to get the go ahead on whether or not they're permitted before you set your heart on the idea.
Bigger really is better
When it comes to sparklers, size matters. Buy good quality, extra long sparklers – they last way longer than the cheapo ones, and more burn time means more opporunities to get that perfect shot (and less chance of your guests getting singed fingers!)
Let there be lighters
And I mean LOTS of lighters. Think you have enough? Double it, honestly. If there aren't enough, by the time the last people have managed to light up, the first sparklers are all burnt out. Station them strategically throughout your sparkler area, ensuring easy access for your guests. Or even better, assign the task of lighting up to a handful of trusted pals.
Take your time
For the best photos, walk slowly through your sparkler aisle. Please for the love of god, don't run. Stop to have a smooch and a wee cuddle at about halfway, then keep on going. If those sparklers are still burning, go back to the start and let's do it again!
Extinguish them correctly – this is really important as once the sparkle is gone, what you're essentially left with is a crowd of (potentially inebriated) folk brandishing hot-as-the-sun metal sticks. Yikes. Your guests need to know where to put them once they're done – a couple of buckets of sand will do the trick.
So there you have it. Wedding-planning couples, I hope you've found these tips useful. Maybe they've even inspired you to consider incorporating sparklers into your big day. Sure, it does take a little bit of planning, but following this advice will ensure things go smoothly. Plus, I guarantee your photographer will thank you for it!