Halloween Photography: Journalistic & Creative Shots

Halloween Photography: Journalistic & Creative Shots



Halloween is the perfect time to experiment with new tricks that complement your subjects. Dim outdoor lighting from a setting sun can double as an appropriate staging device. Creating transparent and ghostly figures, cameras can even play a role in Halloween trickery. These haunting possibilities and more are explained below.

Use Natural Lighting

While the sun is setting to about an hour after it has disappeared is the best time to capture outdoor photographs. Dim lighting lends a dramatic effect, creating haunting settings.  The rich colors and reds of a setting sun are also a fitting backdrop for subjects dressed as ghouls and goblins. With subjects positioned against the sky, this image is best captured using a slow shutter speed or an accenting filler flash.

Avoid Red-Eye

To avoid washed-out figures with red eyes, a flash should never be used straight-on in dimly lit or completely dark settings. Indoor locations provide an easy solution by allowing light to be bounced from the ceiling onto a subject from above with a much more flattering light. Easily angled toward the ceiling, adjustable flashes make this a pain-free process. However, strategically positioned white cardboard can also be used to bounce light from a flash upward.

Compose Silhouettes

Created by darkening a subject against a bright background, silhouettes are the perfect way to capture realistic monsters and tombstone settings. Using the setting sun or porch lights, capture these images by weighting the exposure against the brighter background or purposefully underexpose the image for the darkest, deepest blacks.

Create a Ghost

Ghosts are created by double exposing a negative. This process creates a transparent subject within a realistic setting. These images can only be captured in a completely dark setting, using a long exposure of 30 seconds or more. To avoid a blurry ghost or background, the camera will need to be stabilized on a tripod or another secure surface. The double exposure is created by lighting the scene twice on the same negative. It can be created by an external flash or with a flashlight. Briefly expose the negative once with the subject in place, then, briefly expose the negative a second time without the subject.

Capture Candle Light

The fire-lit faces of jack-o-lanterns are best captured in the dim lighting of dusk with a stabilized longer exposure of four to eight seconds. If there’s not enough natural lighting to capture the details of the pumpkins, a soft and muffled light can be used to accent their features. Flashes and other bright lights should never be used. They will washout the candle-light instead of emphasizing it.

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