Photographers, how many of you adore the Formal Exit time?! *HAND RAISED* I do, I do!!
The formal exit at a wedding used to be a simple thing. It’s become something much more involved, and elegant! Rice, became bubbles…bubbles then morphed into SPARKLERS!
And who doesn’t love a good sparkler exit?!
Well for starters…some of us photographers aren’t super stoked about them.
Don’t get me wrong, they are so much fun to photograph. We just tend to think about the 2000 degrees on the end of a stick held by several adults and children who have no formal training in fire and may or may not have been drinking!
They make for a great shot though…if you know how to control the situation.
I’ll be the first to admit when I shot my first few sparkler exits I had no idea how to control the situation!
Come on photographers, you know the situation I am talking about.
A crowd of people being handed literal fire sticks, sometimes even children. And it could get chaotic enough if we stopped there…but then this usually happens after hours of drinking. And the kids are so excited they are waving them around, not realizing just how hot they actually get. And no one is telling the crowd how to stand, or how to light etc. You’ve had this happen haven’t you??
I have had pieces flung on me, and been stepped on and the works! It can get CRAZY!!
WHY would I want to keep doing them then?
Because my couples LOVE them!! And they DO make cool shots!!
Here’s the thing though…YOU have to know how to control the situation!
If your couple has a coordinator, make sure you know the game plan. How will she distribute the sparklers? Will she give some ground rules? Will she allow children to use them? Where is the exit to happen?
If they do NOT have a coordinator: As it is announced to go grab a sparkler, usually you have an aunt or someone passing them out. As she does this, use your voice! This is the moment to “break character”! Shout to the crowd
“Hey! I’m Rachel, I’m the photographer if I haven’t met you! You are being given large sparklers for this amazing exit and I want us all to be safe and I want to get an epic shot for our couple!! Please line up here (show them by motioning), IF you are allowing your children to hold them, be sure they understand that these get EXTREMELY hot!”
Instruct them not to swing them, or twirl them, to stay in line with them and for kids to stay next to an adult that is going to watch them. Let them know you will be backing up as the couple comes thru and will need to be able to do so without worrying you will get lit on fire;) Feel free to make a joke here!
Let them know, there will be people coming by to light their sparklers, the fastest way to get the sparklers lit is to then light them on each other, and to please be careful!
This usually does the trick!
At some point during the night fairly close to the exit, usually once it’s been announced for everyone to head outside, I will pull the couple aside quickly and tell them to go slower than they think they need to (otherwise I’ve had couples RUN thru! Hard enough to get that shot when they’re walking!), and to stop at my que to kiss!
If you do all these things, you usually have the ingredients for a successful sparkler exit!
*On a technical side note, I recommend the Flash Bender for exits, especially when you have no ceiling to bounce light off!!
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