How to write with light
1 Shooting setup
You’ll need to pop your camera on a tripod as the exposure will be several seconds long. If shooting solo, you can fire the shutter with a remote release, or use the self-timer option to give you enough time to dash into position before the exposure starts.
3 Get focused
Pre-focus on where the sparklers are going to be. Autofocus can be tricky in the dark, so you may find it easier to switch to Live View. However you focus, you’ll need to switch to Manual focus before shooting so the camera doesn’t attempt to refocus and miss the shot.
5 Draw it out
Put on gloves (for protection and warmth), light the sparkler, fire the shutter and start writing. It can be useful to place markers on the floor for more elaborate drawings. Keep the sparkler moving smoothly and consistently across the frame as you write or draw.
2 Set the scene
Frame the scene so that there’s enough space for you to stand in the middle and with enough room to stretch your arm and draw on either side of you. It’s best to wear dark clothing and not stand too close to anything in the background for the glowing sparkler to light up.
4 Camera settings
Shoot in Shutter Priority or Manual mode so that you can set the shutter speed to suit the length of the word – around 10 secs is a good start. We set ISO400 as it was fully dark. Ignore any warnings of underexposure – we want the background to be as dark as possible.
6 Review and reshoot
Review the shot, and tweak the shutter speed and composition if you can’t fit the entire word or image into the frame, or don’t have enough time to complete your masterpiece. You can also adjust the ISO or aperture setting if the sparkler trail is too dim or too bright.