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How to Take Sparkler Photos

This post is sponsored by Alamo Fireworks and may contain affiliate links.

Lighting up sparklers with my kids is probably one of my favorite things about the 4th of July. They’re completely mesmerizing and I love that you can see the intricate sparkle shapes. I’ve taken photos of us holding the sparklers before, but I’ve always wanted to try my hand at drawing with sparklers in photos, too. So after a little research and finagling with my camera, I figured out how to take sparkler photos, and I’m super excited to share it with you!

How to Take Sparkler Photos

First off, this really works best if you have a tripod and DSLR. Or at least a camera where you can adjust the shutter speed and hold it real still. There are some iPhone apps you can use that enable you to decrease the shutter speed, but I was working solo on this, and you really need two people if you’re going to go that route. I’ve heard good things about the Slow Shutter Cam app, and it’s only 99 cents if you want to give it a go.

Back to my camera and tripod. I set my Sony a6000 up on my tripod with the kit lens (I tried with my 50mm, but it just wasn’t working as well). I set the shutter speed at 10″, with an f-stop of 3.5, and ISO at 100. You’re going to have to test out your settings with your particular lighting situation, but the main thing is a low ISO and shutter speed. A lot of people also recommend just setting it to bulb, but I found it easier this way.

Once you have your camera settings, either set the timer or use a remote to take your picture. I found it best to light my sparkler first, then trigger the camera. Keep your body still, and ‘draw’ your word or image in the air in front of you. Shapes are a bit easier to do, you’ll just need to trace over it again and again until the shutter stops. And I found short words easier to write. And don’t worry if it appears backwards–you can always flip the image later. Oh, and larger sparklers tend to work best–especially for bigger drawings/words!

How to Take Sparkler Photos

As you can see, I came out blurry in the photos, but the background and most importantly my sparkler drawings, came out nice and crisp! I can’t wait to try this out with my kids!


Be sure to stop by Alamo Fireworks to pick up your own sparklers (and fireworks). They even have coupons so you can get the most bang for your buck! Hope you enjoyed learning how to take sparkler photos! What will you write in yours??

P.S. Find out how to make my DIY sparkler holders to add some pizzaz while your little ones wave their sparklers in the air!