Tip of the Day: Sparklers and Wedding Photography Don't Always Mix

April 29, 2015

By RF Staff

Credit: Brian Mullins

Photo © Brian Mullins

C.S. Lewis famously called experience "that most brutal of teachers." We suspect Raleigh wedding photographer Brian Mullins would agree.

In Mullins' case, it was an experience with a "sparkler exit" at a wedding he was photographing that taught him a valuable lesson on multitasking with flaming objects. As Mullins recounts, he was setting up the attendees in two lines and grabbed a bunch of sparklers to facilitate the set up. What happened next, he writes, Mullins can't precisely remember. Either someone in the crowd lit his sparklers or he did.

Regardless of who lit the match, the sparklers literally burnt down through his closed fist, searing his skin.

With a fistful of flame, Mullins tried to keep working. As he recalls, "It was the weirdest sensation I have ever felt. My skin felt extremely tough but flexible, like a car tire. I started to panic for a second then I realized I had 3 other fingers I could try! Salvation! I moved to my middle finger but it was worse than my index finger, it wouldn’t move at all. Ring finger? Nope.

"I only had my pinky left, but it saved the day! It had managed to escape the damage done to my hand and fingers so I blasted about 30 frames as fast as I could. I couldn’t concentrate on anything else besides keeping the couple somewhat centered in the frame and in focus. So I shot and shot without thinking about anything like flash recharge time, different compositions, etc."

You can check out the entire harrowing ordeal, complete with some pretty graphic pics of Mullins' injuries, here.