Photography: Sparkler Words & Shapes

December 31, 2013

Photographing sparkler words can be a fun way to celebrate New Year’s Eve or the night of the New Year. 2014 is here!  Below are some tips on how to photograph sparklers shapes and words with a DSLR camera.

Camera Settings

Capturing these photographs is surprisingly easy, you just need to find out how to control the shutter speed on your camera. (Google ‘adjust shutter speed {your camera brand and type}’.  I use a Nikon D90 so the instructions are specific to my camera but most SLR and digital cameras have very similar functions.

1. Select Shutter S (rather than auto, manual or what you usually use)

2. Choose on how many seconds you want the delay to be.  I set mine to 4 seconds and that worked well.

3. Place the camera on something that doesn’t move.  So a tripod if you have one or just a box, railing, chair or other furniture that is near where you want to take the picture.  I used the railing on our porch.

4. Get the person in position with the sparkler and then count down before you push the button.  Say “GO” just after you press the button.  Hold the camera very steady. The picture is taken when you hear the delayed ‘click’.

5. We experimented and for best results, use deliberate, not-too-fast movements to draw something within the 4 seconds (and only do it once unless you want to do swirls). For example, when drawing a heart, do a heart shape in the air once, and then just hold until the click. Most of the pics below we got on the first try so it’s not hard at all. Just keep in mind that you need to draw things in the air that don’t need breaks, but rather a continuous line.

camera instructions for delayed shutter for sparkler pictures


This is super easy. Just get the kids to swirl their sparklers round and round in a circle.

swirls sparkers picture


My husband decided to try a 5 point star and this pic is our first attempt!  So, so cool!

star sparkler picture


I did a love heart by drawing a heart shape in the air once during the 4 seconds.

heart sparkler picture


K is for Kelly.  When doing letters, you have to draw it backwards so it’s the right way in the photograph.

letter k sparkler picture


I didn’t know how this would go but we got this pic on the first take!  I instructed each of the kids on which letter to draw and they stood next to each other and waited for the “go”. Can’t believe how awesome it turned out!

Love sparkler picture


My eldest daughter decided to do the Masterchef symbol becuase she is a big fan of the show.

masterchef symbol sparkler picture


Cloud shape, or is it a flower?

flower shape sparkler picture


Then, of course, you can just go CRAZY and see what comes out. Awesome. There’s four kids in there somewhere.



The numbers 2014 would work well too!


10 Fun Things to do on New Year’s Eve as a Family

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

SarahNo Gravatar December 31, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Very cool! Definitely going to try this, thanks for the idea!


Kristie VisserNo Gravatar January 2, 2014 at 12:49 am

That is really great!


joelyne inspiresNo Gravatar January 2, 2014 at 4:09 pm

I SO need to try this! Great tutorial :) Catch ya on IG!



Kelly Be A Fun MumNo Gravatar January 4, 2014 at 4:58 pm

Hey Joelyne! Great to see you here xx


Mum's LoungeNo Gravatar January 22, 2014 at 4:55 pm

We did this on new years the kids had heaps of fun doing it !


Kelly Be A Fun MumNo Gravatar January 23, 2014 at 12:34 pm



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