How to Photograph Sparklers and People at Night


Photographing sparklers and people at night creates for a unique photo opportunity. You can maneuver sparklers to create images or words in the air, and then set your camera to film these movements. The camera will capture any light in the area, creating a finished photo that shows a person standing next to an image or word that is floating in the air.

Things You'll Need

  • Digital camera
  • Sparklers
  • Lighter
  • Tripod
  • Friends
  • Find a dark location to set up your tripod. Photographing sparklers at night requires there to be no other light source but the sparkler. This means there must be no cars, street lights or house lights in the picture.

  • Set your camera to full manual mode or night mode. Both these options will allow you to adjust the shutter speed. The longer the shutter speed, the more time you'll have to draw with the sparklers. Set the speed to at least 30 seconds.

  • Change your flash to "Rear Curtain" mode. This means that the camera's flash will go off at the end of the exposure rather than the beginning. If your camera doesn't have this option, manually fire the flash at the end of the exposure by pressing the shutter button.

  • Set your stopwatch to the amount of time to which you've set your shutter speed. A few seconds before your camera flashes, call out to your friends so they know to look at the camera and smile.

  • Light the sparklers, and press the shutter button and your stopwatch button. Your camera will now record any light that enters the camera frame. This means you can use the sparkler to draw words or shapes in the air. They'll disappear for you, but the camera will record all the movement.

  • Wait for your camera to finish taking the picture, and then review the photo. Decide whether to save or delete the photo.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not let kids use sparklers unsupervised.
  • Sparklers are flammable.

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  • Photo Credit Thomas Northcut/Digital Vision/Getty Images
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