Fancy taking some cool sparkler photos?

So Guy Fawkes is upon us. A weekend filled with fireworks displays, the smell of bonfires in the air, toasted marshmallows and wrapping up warm with loved ones in the dark! If you’re not off to a display, or even if you are then I’m sure many of you enjoy a few sparklers in your garden. Wouldn’t it be great to take a few really cool photos? Now if you follow me then you’ll know I’m all about shooting outdoors in natural light, night is not usually my thing! But hey it’s fun and sparklers themselves are just another light source.

So grab your camera and try a few of these tips for some more interesting sparker photos this autumn, you’ll be amazed by all the amazing colours shooting out in all different directions!


Slow it down!

This means lengthening the time your shutter is open for. Usually in the daytime with quick moving children this needs to be fast, a snap of time. For sparklers we need to allow the shutter to be open for longer, this is great for making shapes with your sparkler. Or why not try glow sticks with your younger children? For the images below I set my shutter speed to 1 second. This of course isn’t set in stone, have a play with different lengths to see the a variety of results.

Let in less light!

Now this felt a little alien to me. Usually as the day becomes darker I’ll up my ISO to take in more light as it slowly disappears outside or if I’m shooting at home in the evening. To capture the sparkler images below I lowered my ISO to between 160 and 360. The reason for this is that I still wanted my garden to be dark and the sparklers themselves are very bright, allowing too much light in would blow out all the amazing details of your sparkler.


With a longer shutter speed you have to stay really still, move and you’ll have very blurry images! A tripod could be used or find a wall/tree to lean against. Somehow I managed to capture these last year with April in a sling on my back! 1 second may not seem like a long time but slight movement really does make a difference.


The following images were all taken on my Nikon 7200 with my 35mm.






Don’t have a DSLR camera?

Many phone cameras do have a manual setting option. Of course these won’t be as sensitive as a DSLR but you can still use the same ideas. You’ll usually find this in your camera options near all your other effects, it might simply be called “M” and you should be able to lengthen your shutter speed there. Remember to stay as still as you can and don’t forget to put your settings back to normal when you’ve finished!

I’d love to see your sparkler or glow stick photos, feel free to post them under my Facebook post where I’ve shared this blog. I’m looking forward to getting the sparklers out again!


Have a lovely weekend and stay safe!

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