How to photograph with writing with sparkles

Today something totally different then ever before. Upon request, I am going to explain a step by step how to make those awesome sparkles writing pictures that always pop up with NYE. It’s my most liked Instagram photo so far, see here. Plus, it’s super fun to experiment with this (if you succeed ;)).

I am sure there are different ways to capture these fun images. This is really a step by step of how I have captured my heart sparkle photo for dummies.

What do you need

– Camera – I am using Canon EOS 700D
– Tripodor put your camera on something to keep it still e.g. table.
– 2x sparklershave a few spare ones, because it took me a few takes.
– Lighter

Camera settings

This is really different for each situation, but you have to experiment with the shutter time on your camera. For the noobs like me, I show you where to find these buttons on the picture below. For this particular photo we used the following settings:

1. Manual : M
Turn to the M on the wheel right above the camera

2. Shutter speed/exposure time: “6”
the length of time the sensor is exposed to light. For this photo I counted the seconds that I need to draw the heart slowly. That was about 5 seconds, so we put the shutter time on 6 seconds to be sure. If the figure you want to “draw” is bigger, you can add more seconds.

3. Aperture: F4.0
As the background is the best when it’s the dark, you don’t have to do much with the aperture.

4. ISO: 200
A higher ISO number increases the sensitivity of your camera. If you put the the ISO too high, it will add grain or “noise” to the picture. Even this number is not a fixed number for these photos, try to play with it adapting to the situation.

Canon Photography


It might be too dark for the camera to focus on the person in front of the camera. If this happens, you can use a torch to shine on the person so the camera is able to adjust.

It took us at least 8 shots to get it right. We even practiced with the torch first, to see how the camera reacts and how slow I should have move and tweaking a bit with the shutter time.
If you can’t really see the trail you’ll need either a bigger aperture or the person doing the drawing has to slow down the movement a bit. Do the opposite if it looks too bright and wide.

Once you have mastered a heart you can try other figures or words. I am going to experiment with this as well, I will show you the result if I succeed on Instagram ;) (@lily_hashtagby)

Is this something you would try? I hope this little 101 is any help.  Good luck guys!

X Lily

sparkles heart