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Behind-the-Scenes of A Photo Shoot Lit Up By 18lbs of Fireworks

By Hanssie on May 24th 2015

File this under, “Crazy things photographers do, that no one should ever try, even though the photos came out super cool and no one got hurt…

The National Fire Protection Association reports that each 4th of July, thousands of people get injured (or worse) from consumer fireworks. Because fireworks are dangerous, therefore stuff like what you are about to see in the following video, probably shouldn’t be attempted. That being said, we are creatives and as such, we often do crazy stuff where we throw all shreds of common sense out the window in an attempt to do something different and usually pretty cool. It’s risky and dangerous and this article would’ve been much different had something gone wrong in this shoot. Mom lecture aside, the images did turn out very cool and interesting, but I don’t recommend trying it for the safety of you and your clients.


Jake Harsh, a photographer based in Nashville, Tennessee was hired to create a one-of-a-kind photoshoot for electro-pop band, Hand of Hearts. Jake got free reign to create something spectacular and that he did. Using 18lbs of fireworks, Jake stood the band members of Hand of Hearts in the middle of a room wearing only sunglasses for protection. Props to the band members for just standing there and looking super cool and rockstar-y while fireworks unpredictably exploded around them.

Aside from “a few burn marks and some hair smoldering,” Jake writes in his blog post, the fire extinguisher that was readily available was not needed. Jake also used trial and error to figure out lighting, throwing all lighting rules out the window, as “when you’ve got sparks and strobes going off at random times, it’s not the moment to get all Photography 101 on anybody.”

Watch Photographer Shoots Band Engulfed in 18 Pounds of Fireworks

Personally, I would’ve prefered to do something like this in Photoshop, but then again, I’m a wimp and there would be no cool story to tell afterwards.

See Jake Harsh’s post along with the the cool images on his site: or

[Via Fstoppers]

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Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Thomas Horton

    I have to confess that I am not a fan of these types of articles. This guy did something very risky and got lucky. There where no elaborate safety mechanisms nor did it seem to have a lot of contingency plans. Did he really only have one fire extinguisher at this scene?

    This guy was lucky. People reading this article, despite the wimpy disclaimers, may not be so lucky. I think these articles give a disservice to the readers.

    ” Props to the band members for just standing there and looking super cool and rockstar-y while fireworks unpredictably exploded around them.” You actually mean props for the band members putting their trust in a photographer who counted on luck?

    “Aside from “a few burn marks and some hair smoldering,” ” Facepalm.

    I don’t see anything admirable about what this photographer did. We should not reward luck with publicity.

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  2. Ralph Hightower

    Famous last words usually heard in the South: “Hey! Watch this!” or “Here, hold my beer!”

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  3. Phil Bautista

    Brings to mind the story of the wedding photographer who nearly lost his hand lighting up a bunch of sparklers at the same time. When executed properly, cool. When not executed properly, epic…fail.

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  4. Graham Curran

    Really sorry to be the party pooping pedant but this is a pet peeve of mine, – the phrase is “given free rein” as in letting a horse run as it pleases as opposed to tight rein; exercising full control.

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  5. Eric Draht

    I wonder what kind of fireworks those were….

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  6. robert s

    the 24-70 shattered but looks like it had a filter. filter and front element both cracked.

    oh yea, creative shoot.

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    • Dustin Baugh

      I don’t know, that’s some thick glass on the front. What brand makes 1/4″ thick screw on filters?

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    • Dustin Baugh

      1/8″ maybe looking at it again. Still more than the tiny filters I usually see.

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