How To: Long Exposure Sparklers

Have you seen online photos of long exposure sparklers and wondered how they did it? Here are the steps that I took to capture words and symbols using my camera’s long exposure capabilities.

You will need a camera that you can set to manual mode, a tripod, a lighter and sparklers.

Steps to shooting long-exposure sparklers
I used manual focus by first setting it automatically, then switching to manual focus and staying the same distance from the camera for all photos. My camera settings were: 4.0 seconds at f/2.8 at an ISO of 100. You can adjust how many seconds you need to spell the word or draw the shape you are trying to capture. I found that four seconds was enough for me to create the following photos. The longer the exposure the more likely you are to start picking up more of the background and the person drawing due to the ambient light created by the sparklers.


Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do you need flash? No, no flash is needed. 
2. Did you use a remote trigger? In this instance I had an ‘assistant’ but a remote trigger would also work as long as you make sure to first set your focus.
3. Do you need to write out words backwards? Yes.
How did you know you were in frame? A few test photos were required!

Do you have any other tips or questions?

Leave a Reply