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Using Sparklers for dramatic Wedding Photographs

This blog, explains, in full, the detail that goes into getting results at night using 'Off Camera Flash' and a Sparkler, to give epic results. I always welcome requests and example images from my clients, to use as inspiration. Aimee and Richard were married at Soughton Hall in early January and requested some photo's using sparklers. After capturing sparklers in use at other weddings, I wanted to create something more interesting and dramatic.

North Wales Wedding Photographer


* Maximafoto White Flash Diffusors, mounted on individual

* Head Torch

* Sparklers (several/ long lasting)

Soughton Hall is a beautiful venue with an abundance of character. I was completely sold on the main entrance and it's immediate surroundings. Interior and Exterior ambient lighting combined with Christmas lights on a garland shaping the door arch, gave a welcoming, warm feel to the place.

North Wales Wedding Photographer

I positioned two Flashes/Speedlites on top of light stands, either side of the camera, at an angle of 45 degrees to the subject. With the power on half full I ensured that the Speedlites were set to a narrow focus, to ensure that there was very little light spill other than on the subjects.

The aim, was to create a 20 second exposure of the Bride and Groom - Aimee & Richard, who needed to remain statuesque, whilst an assistant walked into the shot with a pre-lit sparkler.

The request to my assistant was to create a wave in and out of the shot with 2 large circles around Aimee and Richard, (which draws the attention to the subject). Any light movement from the sparkler and flash would be captured within that 20 second window.

With the camera set to 'Bulb Mode' and with a remote control and tripod to restrict camera shake, I snapped away [19.0 sec/ f8.0/ ISO 160] . My assistant had completed his task within 10 seconds. I then walked to each flash, before individually triggering each one (manually) to illuminate Aimee and Richard - predominantly Aimee's dress. Finally I released the trigger to complete the photograph.

North Wales Wedding Photographer

After encountering a couple of obstacles from blurred subjects to overexposure, I achieved what I needed, knowing that any glare and detail can be altered and fixed in Adobe Lightroom.

After tweaking the 'Basic' and 'Detail' editing features I was able to correct the glare considerably. Areas of overexposure from the 20 second exposure time were softened to reveal a crisp interior to Soughton Hall, as well as the detail to the Christmas Lights.

North Wales Wedding Photographer
North Wales Wedding Photographer

The 'Adjustment Brush' feature, enabled me to paint the dress and alter the Highlights, Shadow and Clarity.

North Wales Wedding Photographer

Once the wedding dress was edited, I wanted to darken the background so that the viewers attention is focused on the bride and groom. Simple use of Graduated Filters enabled this.

North Wales Wedding Photographer
North Wales Wedding Photographer

I am now content that the lighting , detail and vibrancy was up to standard and I had achieved the results that I hoped for. Out of curiosity, I was interested to see how this would look in Black and White.......

North Wales Wedding Photographer

Above is a Before and After shot, showing the RAW file direct from my camera and the fully completed images in Black and White with a Purple Hue, eliminating the glare considerably.

For any further questions on this edit or if you're interested in booking me to capture your Wedding, please visit my contact page.

North Wales Wedding Photographer

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