Sparklers, smoke bombs & Fireworks
We love to photograph these things but there are a few things to know before you have them at your wedding, for you and your guests’ safety.
Long story short – The law in Scotland deems it illegal to use or possess pyrotechnics (such as smoke bombs) in a public space. There is a grey area at weddings as they are often in private spaces but even if it’s legal to use them, insurance companies will not provide accident or personal injury cover to a business using them at an event without a pyrotechnic license and that license is expensive, as is the increased insurance cover. We would be irresponsible as a business if we were to supply pyrotechnics without insurance to cover accidents. We rarely get asked to supply sparklers or smoke bombs so we’d have to pass that cost on to you and that would make everyone’s wedding photography more expensive. That seems unfair so to avoid this we ask that if you want to use these items then you must purchase them yourselves and assume the risks involved in using them.
We love a sparkler shot and guests really love playing with them at weddings. The important thing to note is they are super dangerous in the hands of drunk guests. Here are a few tips for keeping the fun to a maximum and avoid injuries.
These shots have to happen when it’s dark. In Scotland it’s fairly difficult to do them before 11pm between mid may and mid August. You may also want to check with your venue if they are allowed.
Another consideration is letting some or most of your guests know you are going to do this on the day. We’re pretty fantastic at adapting to situations on a second’s notice but photographing sparklers at night requires some specific camera settings and predictable events to occur and if all your guests immediately light their sparklers as soon as they get them (this happens a lot) they will often be gone out before the shot can be taken.
What is a good way to do them?
A sparkler exit, or sparkler tunnel is a great way for everyone to get involved in the fun and gives us a controlled opportunity to create a fun photograph.
Pick between 15 and 20 of your most responsible guests and give them each a sparkler. They should light the sparklers at exactly the same time to ensure they are all alight when you walk through the ‘tunnel’. The best ways to do this is either a fire pit that everyone can light from at the same time or supply lighters to at least 50% of the wedding guests holding sparklers. Once the sparklers are lit, we make two rows of guests and they hold the sparklers high like a salute with a sword. We then ask the couple to walk briskly through the tunnel as we walk backwards in front of you to capture the shot. Once the sparklers go out put them in a sand bucket, not on the floor.
They can make a great image but there are some important things to consider when using them.
- They burn hot! Don’t put them on the floor or on any dry grass until they have expired, and even then it’s best to put them in a sand bucket to avoid the risk of wild fires.
- The coloured smoke can stain clothes. A white wedding dress can be permanently damaged from the colours of the smoke. Hold them away from your body and with the wind blowing away from you if you want to avoid ruining your clothes.
- The smoke can be dense. This can make it hard for breathing and difficult to see. It’s best to avoid using them where there are vehicles or event staff that require high visibility.