The 4th of July is just around the corner and that means lots of fun, family and fireworks! Now is the time to grab your camera and get creative with sparklers. Guest blogger Matt Kennedy of Matt Kennedy Photography gives us his insights in to capturing that “spark” between the bride and groom.
One of the latest trends in wedding photography has been late night sparkler photos. I’m sure you’ve seen a few of these floating around Pinterest, and some of your bride’s may have even asked you to do some for their wedding! Even if that hasn’t happened yet, it probably will, so you need to make sure you’re ready and capable of getting your couples what they want.
To be successful in photographing sparklers and bridal couples, you’ll need to keep a few things in consideration while planning for the wedding day. Here are 5 tips to making sure you get the best sparkler photos possible, and then also a little bonus video with 5 more tips for you at the end!
1 – TIME OF DAY
In order to get great sparkler photos, it’s important that you can have your shutter open for a long enough time to run around like a maniac and draw everything you want to draw, while also leaving time to pop a flash! This means that it has to be pretty dark when you do your sparkler photos, so planning the timeline in a way that allows for you to have the couple for 10-20 minutes when it’s dark out is a must. If you don’t have an area and time where it will be very dark, then you’ll have to do more short exposure shots where your shutter is open for 1-5 seconds instead of 10-30 seconds.
I always go through an ideal timeline with my clients at our first meeting, and at that meeting I describe how and when I would suggest they do sparkler photos if they want them. It usually ends up being about 15-30 minutes after the first dances that we get to sneak out and do some sparkler photos.
2 – KNOW YOUR SETTINGS
Mastering your camera is your job. You’re a photographer, so learning how to manipulate the settings on your camera to achieve the image in your mind is a critical skill. When it comes to sparkler photos there are a few things you want to make sure that you remember.
Sparklers are millions of little bursts of light, just like a flash, so that means that ISO and APERTURE do affect the brightness of the sparkler in your image, while shutter speed does not affect the brightness of the sparkler in your image. However, whatever the sparkler is lighting up (ie. your clients as your come close to them) is being lit up as if it were from an ambient light source rather than a flash. This means that if you hold the sparkler next to them or yourself for too long, ghosting will appear, so move fast!
Start with the settings: 20sec, f4.5, ISO 200 and take a test shot. Analyze the photo and see what needs to be changed to get the background how you want it. Then take a test shot with a sparkler in it and see what else needs to be changed to get the mix between the background and the sparkler perfect. Then take a test shot with sparklers and ending the shot with a pop of your flash in hand. Adjust your position or the intensity of your flash until it exposes the subject properly.
BONUS FLASH TIP
Use your flash in manual power mode and have it in your hand while you’re running around with the sparkler. Once you’re out of the frame, have a place to safely drop the sparkler (remember, this is fire on a stick) and then run back into the frame (or have an assistant run in with the flash) and pop the flash on the couple. You can also setup a flash on a stand if it is out of the frame (or inside the frame if you care to photoshop it out) and pop it with a trigger. It’s best to have it off of the camera and not relying on rear-curtain sync, but rather hitting the manual flash button to light your subject.
Your couples have probably seen these photos on Pinterest and have ideas of what they want, make sure you find those out so you can at least get one of them before you move on to your original ideas. Think of new ways to compose your shot, pose your couple, and light your images so you have fun with this and don’t just become a copy cat. Share your ideas with them, and allow them to share their ideas with you, then choose a few that you know you can nail, and at least one that will challenge you!
Sometimes it’s fun to incorporate the wedding party into these shots, especially for the short exposure shots. Just remember, the sparkler drawing is the hard part, so you’ll have to coach them to get it right. Sometime I will take upwards of 50 photos of one type of shot just to get the letters right.
5 – WHITE BALANCE
Most sparklers are gold in colour, so when you combine a sparkler with a flash you will see a big difference between the colors lighting your subject. Remember to always white balance so that your subject is the proper colour so they look natural. Consider using a CTO gel on your flash so that you can closely match the colour of your flash with the colour of the sparkler. If you’re only using ambient light and sparklers in the photo, then adjust your white balance to the colour of the sparkler so that the couple is the right colour in your image. There’s nothing worse than a blue wedding dress because your white balance is off!
I have an online workshop available for Sparkler Photos, and hundreds of photographers have taken the course and are now making great sparkler images all the time. This can still be a differentiating factor for you as a photographer in the eyes of couples, so take some time to consider how this can help you with your marketing as well! If you would like more info on the online course, you can click on the link at the bottom of this article
I hope these tips will help you get great sparkler photos, and if you would like more instruction and help with this and many other things, please take a look at my online courses available HERE.
Oh, and just so you have a little bit more to go on, here’s a special video with 5 more tips!
Thank you Matt!
Matt and his wife Carissa hale from Vancouver, Canada and they have been shooting weddings for 7 years. They have shot all over the world in places like Canada, US, Cuba, Italy, Mexico, and hope to shoot in Brazil next! Matt has been a presenter at CreativeLive, WPPI, United, and many online webcasts, as well as a writer for FStoppers. They have online workshops available for purchase, and have been largely involved in the Shoot & Share community. They have been published in many online blogs and in print magazines across North America and Australia.
Welcome to wedding season! Now is the busy time of the year when brides and grooms walk down the aisle to say their vows and celebrate with friends and family. After the party is over though, you’ll have hundreds sometimes thousands of images to process. Now is the time to get creative! If you’ve waited now for a year, guess what? The traditional anniversary gift for one year of marriage is paper. We couldn’t think of a better gift than an Adoramapix wedding photo book made with true archival photo paper.
We have added some new themes to our photo book line up that fits the bill perfectly for weddings.
The clean classic lines and simple understated elegance of our pinstripe wedding theme make a great showcase for your most treasured wedding photos.
Let your wedding photos tell their own story with the clean, understated elegance of our exquisite theme. The big bold photos and timeless style will be a pleasure to look back on for years to come.
This theme is a perfect for holding a large selection of photos using clean, open layouts. Although not in the wedding photo book category, it lends itself well to today’s modern look.
One in four people around the world will experience some kind of mental health problem in the course of a year, according to the Mental Health Foundation. With this staggering statistic, there is a non profit organization hoping to shed some light on those affected through photography and an exhibit.
The exhibit is called From Darkness to Light and it’s being featured at the Fountain Gallery, located at 702 Ninth Avenue at 48th Street in New York City from June 26- August 13, 2014. The show represents artists living with or affected by mental illness It spotlights photographs by Broken Light Collective, the foremost online photography gallery for people affected by mental illness. Adoramapix is proud to provide prints for this exhibit.
From Darkness to Light represents a cross section of the Broken Light Collective online gallery in terms of style, location, age, and mental health and developmental challenges. The 36 photographers from around the globe who are featured in the show have been affected by conditions including depression and anxiety, bipolar disorder, PTSD, OCD, addiction, and autism.
Broken Light Collective is a safe and accepting environment in which photographers of all levels who are affected by mental health challenges can display their work while inspiring one another to keep going and keep creating. Since launching in 2012, Broken Light Collective’s daily online gallery has grown to over 10,000 contributors from more than 150 countries. The team is currently developing new initiatives to further Broken Light’s mission of using photography as a vehicle for fighting stigma, raising awareness, and enhancing the lives of people affected by mental illness.
Again, the gallery show is from June 26th through August 13th. The opening reception is tomorrow night from 6-8 pm at The Fountain Gallery at 702 Ninth Avenue at 48th Street in New York City.
We love to see how creative our members get with our products. Each month, we will showcase ways to be inspired and artistic. This month we focus on a simple > than $4.00 frame for your prints.
If you are like me, I constantly love to change my photos out. I also love to mix vintage with modern. I was at thrift store the other day and noticed a bag of wooden hangers for $1.99. I noticed a gem in there with a true vintage wooden hanger. I bought the bag and headed off to a craft store to find some binder clips with modern patterns. I found 6 of them for only $2.00. It was easy to clip the image to the hanger by just opening the clip. Be warned though, this will leave a dimple in your picture. Pictures that work best for most of these regular hangers are 11x14s or 12x12s are excellent too.
As far as hanging them, they are very light weight so all you need is a finishing nail.
If you have any creative ways you display your Adoramapix images, feel free to show us! Email email@example.com and we’ll showcase your ideas. Make sure to follow us on Pinterest for more inspirational decorating.
We’ve all been there and we’ve all done it. We take an amazing picture and we hi-5 ourselves. Then we get home and load it to our computer only to find out, we cut off our subjects limb or fingers. Unfortunately, you can’t add those back in to the image but you might be able to crop in tighter.
In this week’s Photography Bootcamp 101, we take a look at #3 in the 5 most common mistakes photographers make – limp chopping. The human eye and what you actually captured with your camera are two completely different images and one can fool the other. However, once you learn to condition yourself when looking through the frame, you’ll find it easier to not make this mistake.
You’ll also be more confident and mindful of leaving all the digits in the frame.
Our friend Courtney Slazinik from Click It Up A Notch sgives us great advice on avoiding this common pitfall.