Fireworks are a great addition to an evening wedding reception, and I have been fortunate to photograph a few weddings with fireworks over the past couple of years so here is a little look at some of my favourites and I explain a little about how I photograph them.
At a couple of the weddings the fireworks have been a surprise for all the guests which is lovely, and I have had to make sure I keep quiet about them throughout the wedding day! Getting all the guests outside when they are a secret can be tricky, especially at one winter wedding I did at Hedsor House. I told the bride to use me as an excuse saying I wanted a photo outdoors of all the guests (I felt really guilty at the time it was really chilly!) but then it all became clear once the fireworks started.
Another good way to get all the guests outside is to have couple of packs of sparklers on hand and for the bride and groom to say they want all their guests to come outside for sparklers, then the fireworks start.
Fireworks to music are also fantastic and really add the atmosphere and can make it really dramatic and spectacular.
Before I shot my first wedding with fireworks, I did loads of research on how other photographers have done it in the past and got some advice from some highly experienced photographers. I took all these things on board and decided how I wanted to go about capturing firework pictures. One thing I wanted to do was be sure they were spectacular!
Firstly, I decided I wanted to separate the bride and groom from their guests for the actual photo, so the bride and groom would be in front of me (and my camera) watching the fireworks and I’d ask all the guests to stay behind me. That way I’d have the bride and groom looking into the distance and the fireworks filling the frame.
I decided on going for a slow shutter speed of 2 seconds to make sure I got the wonderful bursts and trails of the fireworks, which meant my camera had to be on a tripod. For this first wedding I had a second photographer working with me that day and he held a flash with a magmod magshere attached, on a long monopod. He stood to the right of me holding the light up high above the bride and groom. The flash would freeze the couple in the frame, while the 2 second exposure got the dramatic bursts of the firework trails. This was my plan anyway, so this first wedding it would be put to the test.
I was thrilled my plan worked like a dream and I was so happy with the outcome. I have therefore kept this same model for all the wedding fireworks I have shot ever since. Each wedding and the location are different so I may have to tweak my set up slightly, for example when I have not had a second photographer, I have put my flash on a high light stand above the couple.
At one of the weddings at Warbrook House I was informed by the bride it was the first ever fireworks display at a wedding held there. What an honour to capture this wonderful moment.
One really important thing is for me to chat to the bride and groom about how I’d like to position them for the fireworks and tell them about putting the guests behind me. I want to be sure they are totally happy with my vision before I get set up. Also enlisting a member of the bridal party is a good idea to get them involved to be sure they can gather and keep guests in the correct place.
I also go and have a chat with the team setting up the fireworks to be sure I know the start time, music cue, duration and height for example. The more information the better.
Then once I am all set up and ready to go its lights, camera, action! There are numerous ways photographers take firework photo’s at weddings, but this is what works for me. Please take a little look at a few of my favourite shots below.
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