Elizabeth and Tim are both active duty Sailors in the United States Navy. We met through their close friends who referred me to them. We decided to photograph them at the beach shortly before sunset.
Towards the end of the session, I had suggested that we should hang out for an hour, clean our selves off and get something to eat so that we could come back once the sun went down and light paint a beautiful photo for them. They might have been a bit skeptical initially but were great sports and decided it would be worth it. After a few takes and dozens of sparklers later I finally managed to draw the perfect heart. The pier we were under also had some great down lighting onto the water for the fisherman above and created an amazing aura on the water.
If you plan on doing a sparkler send off for your wedding or you are a photographer wanting to create designs with sparklers, I highly recommend using the largest sparklers you can find so that you get the best burn time. These 36inch wedding sparklers from SparklersOnline.com are a great option and at a great price. I'd also suggest having a wind proof lighter available because it can be very difficult to light anything in windy conditions.
For portraiture, It's important to have the idea and general concept already previsualized. If you've never done it before, I would highly suggest practicing in your drive way or somewhere safe before you experiment on clients. Set your camera on a tripod and set it in manual and where it will properly expose for the background but also allow you enough time to draw. This example was taken with a 13 second exposure and was just enough time to finish. Set your camera up, compose it correctly, and figure out where in the frame and how far you have to start painting. You can do this easily by marking spots on the ground so you know where the frame will begin and end when you are painting.
Once you have it set up, you'll either have to freeze your couple or person with flash or they will have to hold very very still. This example is a combination of both because I've added the speed light backlighting the couple. Once planning and set up is complete, start painting! It'll be hard at first and it took a lot of reviewing for me to figure out exactly how to shape the heart. There were a lot of out takes but it came out fantastically.
My last tip is to be safe. Sparklers are great for wedding send offs and create wonderful affects in photography. Make sure that you aren't using these around dry foliage or in locations that may be flammable. Be aware of your surroundings and make safety a top priority.
I encourage you to try it for yourself and remember to bring a wind proof lighter, especially if you shoot at the beach! If you'd like to composite it, make sure to check out www.taralesher.com if you'd like to learn compositing.
If you have any questions or like this idea for your portrait session or wedding, please give me a call or fill out the contact form. Thanks!