Welcome to the fifth edition of “a thousand words”. This story is called “Writing With Sparklers”. It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words, but often a real description can help to add context. Here is the story behind this cool photo.
Most couples are in search of something that will make their wedding stand out. While there are a lot of neat ideas out there, using sparklers in your photos can make a huge impact for a very small investment. There are several ways to integrate them into your pictures, but one of the most popular ways is by writing with sparklers in the air. You can draw shapes, numbers, or anything else your heart desires as long as you have the correct camera settings. For Jasmine and David, this was exactly what they were looking to add to their celebration.
Jasmine and David’s Story
David is a real estate agent in Orange County, California and Jasmine is a professional photographer. They were engaged in January of 2020, and they decided that they wanted to plan a very small destination wedding. The couple agreed that they would rather have a great honeymoon and a down payment for their new house rather than spend a fortune on their wedding.
However, Jasmine’s mother became seriously ill a few short weeks later, and their plans needed to change unexpectedly. Her mother’s dream was always to see her daughter married at a big wedding, so the couple decided to go big. Since they already had their venue booked, it was just a matter adding more elements to their plan. As a photographer, Jasmine was always doing research and stumbled upon the concept of writing with sparklers in their photos.
Like most people, this couple was in a creative rut and didn’t know where to start. Even though she’s a professional photographer, taking pictures of sparklers can be tricky. Knowing that they were going to be planning a cheap honeymoon, they had plenty of room in the budget. So, they reached out to me for help, and I thought it might be useful to you as well. Here is the rundown of the information I provided.
Choosing the Right Camera
Technically, you can take photos of sparklers using any type of camera you want. However, for the best results, you should choose a professional grade SLR camera. Nevertheless, many people do not have access to this type of equipment. So, I’ve outlined the pros and cons of the most common camera types so you can see how the process will go.
Professional SLR Cameras
A professional grade camera has the best ability to capture pictures of wedding sparklers, but only if setup correctly. Unfortunately, they are also the most complicated to use; and that can spell trouble for an amateur. Jasmine happens to be a pro, but that isn’t likely to be true with you. However, if you want the best possible images, an SLR camera is the top of the list.
Point and Click Cameras
These are much more common, and almost everyone has one lying around somewhere. You can identify them because they are usually small with a digital screen on the back and no viewfinder. Usually, they are limited to a 3x or 5x optical zoom, but that is plenty for photographing writing with sparklers. However, they have fewer options than an SLR, so your pictures won’t be quite as crisp. Conversely, since they are simple to use, you can easily get some decent shots without prior training.
This is the most common type of camera that people have access to, but they are also the most limited. Unless you have the newest Samsung Galaxy phone, you’re going to have some trouble getting the right exposure. However, if you fiddle around long enough, you can usually achieve satisfactory results.
Film and Disposable Cameras
Honestly, it’s almost impossible to find a disposable camera anymore; and for good reason. They offer zero features, the quality is low, and your Smartphone can always do the job better. Even if you have a nice film camera, it’s still expensive to have the film developed. Additionally, you can’t see the images immediately with film; so you are left wondering until you have the roll developed. Overall, this is the worst option and should be avoided at all costs.
Finding the Right Settings
Getting the right camera settings will depend on what type of equipment you’re using. For an SLR model, you want to set the exposure to as long as possible. Occasionally, point and shoots will have exposure options, too. For everything else, you need to focus on the lighting and angle to get the best results. Take a few practice shots to see what it will look like without any sparklers first.
Once you’re prepared, make sure to do a few demo runs to get things tweaked just right. It may take two or three attempts, but once you have it dialed in you will be all set.
Deciding on What to Write
Most couples choose one of three things when writing with sparklers; a heart shape, the word “LOVE”, or their wedding date. The easiest by far is the heart shape because it only requires two people to coordinate their movements. However, Jasmine and David sent me this picture of them writing the word “COOL” because that is how she described the photos. Also, that is why it’s the featured image in this edition of A Thousand Words.
Overall, what you decide to write in the air is completely up to you. Just remember, you’ll need a person for every letter or symbol in your photo; sometimes two people for each symbol. If you keep it simple, it will be a lot easier to get a good picture.
Consider Hiring a Professional Photographer
Jasmine happened to be a professional, and she had all the right equipment on hand. Additionally, she was very familiar with the settings on her camera, so getting setup was easy for her. However, if you want the best photos possible, you should always hire a professional. It’s a lot cheaper than buying all of the equipment on your own and the quality will speak for itself. You probably want a photographer for the rest of your wedding anyway, so just let the pros do their thing.
Which Size Works Best for Writing With Sparklers?
There are many different shapes and sizes of sparklers available, so deciding which is best can seem difficult. However, by far the best option is wedding sparklers that are 20 inches in length. Longer is not better in this scenario because you want to be able to control them easily in the air. Conversely, shorter versions will not last long enough for you to get the proper exposure. Lasting a minute and a half, the 20 inch version is the right mix of length and flexibility in the air.
After all was said and done, David and Jasmine had a wonderful wedding that her mother adored. They spared no expense on every detail, and luckily they had enough left over for a great honeymoon. It’s rare that a single picture can capture the exact sentiments of the people involved. However, that is exactly what this couple accomplished, so I wanted to share their great story with you.
If you have a story to share, don’t hesitate to contact us. If you send a great photo and background story, then perhaps you could be featured in the next edition!