What’s fast and hard to capture? Sparkler writing (but here’s how).

kelseyads / July 2, 2014

Saturday is Independence Day. Have you bought your sparklers? You’ll want to after you learn the secret of sparkler writing photography.

Item Checklist

1. Camera: you’ll want a camera that has an adjustable aperture and shutter speed.

2. Bucket of Water: you’ll want this later. Trust me.

3. Tripod: for stability. If you don’t have a tripod, use a hard surface. Without a hard surface, the words will appear less sharp and clean.

4. Sparklers: just saying. You can’t sparkle-write without sparklers.

5. Lighter: don’t play with matches.

6. Two or more people: One to take the picture, one to sparkle-write, and one to sit back and say “that’s awesome.”


The Secret Behind Sparkler Writing Photography.

1. Adjust your aperture and shutter speed: like ice in the sun, sparkler trails disappear quickly. To capture the words on camera, you’ll need to decrease your aperture (the part of your camera that controls the amount of light received) and increase your shutter speed.

Set your aperture to f/16 or higher.

Set your shutter speed to 10” or lower.


2. Light your sparkler and write smoothly, yet quickly: Once the camera is adjusted, light a sparkler and begin writing. This will take a few tries, so be patient. The art of snapping high quality photography is the art of patience. Just write and allow the photographer to take a few pics.

The lower your shutter speed, the more seconds you’ll have to write. If the photographer is struggling to capture your entire word, lower your shutter speed. For our photo, we used f/32 with a 10” shutter speed, which is equivalent to 8 seconds of exposure. That was enough time to capture six letters.

3. Throw the sparkler in the bucket of water: after you write what you want to say, put the sparkler in the water. This not only prevents fires. It also enhances your photos, since you can receive glares or high bursts of light from a lit sparkler.

4. Take your time: again, be patient. Capturing sparkler writing is about trial and error.


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