I started realizing that by 9pm, most of the guests would start packing up to get ready to go. When you do a sparkler exit, the more sparklers, the better lighting you’ll have and you want a big celebration moment with all of your guests.
So I came up with three tips to help brides get that picture perfect moment and having included a real example for you to check out. 🙂
Tip 1) Setting a mock sendoff before the guests with children and the elderly guests head home for the evening will provide you with a lot more people surrounding you for that big moment.
Tip 2) Having a nicely lit background is CRUCIAL to help illuminate the couple. Never do a sparkler exit in complete darkness or where there is lighting over your heads. Twinkling lights, street lights, edison bulbs, alley way lights, etc will cause strange shadows and different color casts that are impossible to edit out.
Tip 3) During the sendoff, take your time. Walk slowly, smile, laugh and enjoy every moment. With sparkler exits, the sparklers can only be lit once so I have to guess my camera settings to the best I can and then tweak it along the way. If you take your time, this will allow for me to get as close to the correct settings as possible, you will have sharper images and you’ll get more images. Take a dip kiss too and then celebrate afterwards for some cool shots!
Bonus Tip: The best sparklers are the ones meant for weddings. If you buy regular sparklers at the firework stand, they will have more smoke than anything and they will also crackle and spark (I’ve had brides get holes in their dresses from this) . Regular sparklers also don’t last very long. Wedding sparklers usually last 90 seconds to 2 minutes which is wonderful for getting that lighting right. I haven’t used these personally but they have great ratings so I would definitely check them out: Wedding Sparklers
Real example #1: Lighting from behind helped tremendously. They had wedding sparklers that were warm and lasted a long time. Notice that the sparks are small and staying close to the sparklers and that there is hardly any smoke. This fake sendoff took place at 9pm and took about 7 minutes to line everyone up thanks to the amazing wedding planner, Jill Mason with Confetti and Cashmere. 🙂
Real example #2: Although still a cool shot, you can see the difference a wedding sparkler makes versus one you can pick up at the stand. These sparklers caused a lot of smoke and see the sparks going everywhere. They also chose the long ones so that they would last longer but the area we were in was not an adequate space for it and the guests had to raise them. This not only caused shadows on the couple’s face but even more sparks to descend towards the couple. This sendoff was originally scheduled for 10:30pm to set up and I noticed guests were dwindling fast as soon as 9 hit. They decided to push it up to set up at 9:45. There were about 25 guests left and since there wasn’t a wedding planner, the set up took nearly a half hour because of miscommunications and lack of instruction from the DJ.