I LOVE sparkler exits, but they are also one of the trickiest things to photograph. I will never forget my first experience with sparklers at a wedding. The main thing I could think about was how fast the moment went by. Thankfully, I was second shooting at this particular wedding, so my first experience with sparklers was alongside an experienced wedding photographer. The pressure was on her to get the shot, not on me. However, since that wedding, I have photographed many sparkler exits where the pressure was on me to get the shot and there are definitely some tips I've learned along the way. If you're getting sparklers for your grand exit, it's likely because you want a fun sparkler exit photo. Follow these tips and you're sure to make the most of that moment!
1. Get Ready...Because They Don't Last Long
Sparklers last a VERY short period of time, so timing is of the essence. Once your guests begin to gather for the exit, you want to be near the door and ready to exit at any second. If you're at a wedding where I'm shooting a sparkler exit, you'll hear me say over and over as guests come outside, "don't light them until we give you the signal." However, what often happens is someone innocently pops out a lighter and starts lighting sparklers, not realizing that lighting the sparklers too soon can actually cause us to miss out on the sparkler photo if the bride and groom aren't yet near the door and ready to exit. Once it's been announced you're going to exit, you want to be within sight of the door so that you can exit as soon as you're given the cue.
2. Splurge for Smokeless Sparklers
This is something I've learned from my photographer friends! Not all sparklers are the same. For the best sparkler exit, be sure to order the longer sparklers since they'll burn longer and get the kind that are labeled smokeless. Smokeless sparklers won't put off a grey cloud of smoke, which muddies up your final photo.
3. Walk A Bit Slower for More Photos
This is your time to really savor the final moment of your wedding day, so take your time going through that sparkler tunnel. Enjoy it! The slower you walk, the more photos we're able to take of this moment, which is the last moment of your wedding! If you have a long tunnel of sparklers, you can still walk through briskly, but if you have a short distance to go from the doorway to the car you'll definitely want to walk a bit slower than your normal stride to ensure that fun moment is thoroughly captured on camera.
4. The Wow Factor
Want to really add that wow factor to your sparkler exit? Pause halfway between the door and the car for a kiss, dip or twirl. This is guaranteed to give your exit photo that "wow" factor and is so much fun for your guests.
5. What About Sparkler Alternatives?
If you want the look of sparklers, then you need to go with the real thing. It's hard to get that glow from anything else, even though there are many non-flammable options on the market. In most cases, you'll need much more of the non-flammable style lights (glow sticks, LED lights, etc.) than you'd need of the sparklers to get the same amount of glow. If your venue doesn't allow sparklers, opt for something totally different and make it amazing. Bio-degradable confetti is my new favorite sparkler alternative and I've also seen balloons, bubbles, rose petals, and ribbon wands. There are many possibilities!
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