Still Life Photography Tips
Halloween is about the drama and you can capture this and convey it in your images by getting in close and filling a frame with your subject. People or objects alike, getting in close will add a bit more drama to your shots. If you're capturing food and in particular cupcakes or other Halloween treats and desserts then consider making your background Halloween themed too. Orange paper, pumpkins, leaves and any other orange item in the background would work really well to create a wonderfully blurred Halloween-ie backdrop.
Halloween is a time of drama and you can add to this in your images by getting in nice and close and filling the frame with your subjects. Whether it’s people or objects – getting in nice and tight will usually add punch to your shots.
claremanson has for a long time astounded me with her wonderful culinary creations - and her skills with photographing them afterwards too. So it seemed natural to go to her for some pointers on how to achieve the best Still Life Halloween shots this season.
"Let your imagination run wild, it is Halloween after all, experiment and don't be afraid to make a few mistakes along the way as that can be half the fun sometimes. If it's food, you can easily turn it into something else and present it in a different way. For example if you make Halloween cupcakes but they come out all wrong turn them into cake pops, trifle, a warm dessert etc. When photographing don't just think Halloween, think autumn, think colour coordinating to the theme ofyour subject, think dim and spooky lighting, lamps, tea lights etc."
Capturing the Horror and Macabre
pullingcandy is our resident go-to girl for all things Halloween and Spooky. She's the Community Volunteer for the Horror, Macabre and Cosplay Photography Galleries and has shared her tips and tricks for Halloween Photography.
"The most important thing is mood, and lighting. The next important in the setting.You can convey Halloween through cute and cheerful and dark and eerie, it's all down to the lighting. Photographing a vampire using the sunlight and pumpkins in the dark is kind of backwards, of course, and you should utilize your ideas and light sources properly to create the best effect. Anything can be spooky - from a pie plate to a pumpkin, it's all about how you position and center your subject. You want to create a mood, andyou need to figure out how to go about doing that before you snap pictures. Putting a pumpkin on your front steps might sound cute, or even a little spooky if the pumpkin is rotting, or carved in a menacing manner, but doing it in broad daylight won't create the same effect as if you were to snap a shot of it at dusk, with the fading light. Or early morning, with fog or the dim glow of a rising sun. Or you could add fake cobwebs, or a scary, ghostly shadow from inside the door, etc."
Utilising Halloween to create some Fantastic Stock Photography
PirateLotus-Stock - one of the Community Volunteers for Stock and Resources - has put together some fantastic tips to help you make the most of Halloween if you're into creating stock photographs.
"As long as you're in your costume, shoot model stock! Put on your costume extra early and do a stock shoot before the party. (This is also good for testing out your costume before you have to wear it all night!) Do poses that are typical AND atypical for your character, for variety.
Halloween is also a great opportunity to shoot costumed model stock of people other than yourself, but make sure you have their permission. Elandria suggested to me once to just print out model release forms to take with you, and then ask people to sign them after taking pictures. That
way, you can get natural-looking photos, AND the people photographed can know exactly what they are approving for use. Just make sure you don't use the photos of people that didn't want to sign the release for stock. If you are lucky enough to have friends that aren't shy, try getting together for a group stock session!
Don't forget object stock! Take stock of jack-o-lanterns, treat bowls, yellow-orange leaves, Halloween decorations, and anything else that is only around at this time of year. Acquiring a stocker's eye takes practice, but keeping your camera out of its case to stay in the mindset of, "Would that be good for stock?" will help. Halloween is a great time to get stock that you can't get for the rest of the year."
General Photography Tips
Halloween is a particularly difficult holiday to shoot because most of the action occurs after dark, when low-light conditions make it difficult for your camera to get a sharp shot. You’ll get your best Halloween photos at dusk. For that hour or so while the sun is setting, you’ll have enough natural light to easily forgo your flash while still capturing the glow of your Pumpkins and the bright colors of your costumes. After sunset, use a high ISO setting (400 or more) and hold your camera as steady as you can (or use a tripod) to capture action without a flash. The rich, dark colors characteristic of Halloween are essential in setting a spooky mood, so make sure your flash doesn’t overpower them. Remember, Halloween’s not a bright holiday; and dark and creepy shots can work in your favor.
"Use a tripod and change your exposure when shooting in low light to capture the mood a lot more crisply and sharply. Use a good flash for indoor photography or bounce your flash off of something." ~ Astralseed
"Get down to the level of your subject and don't shoot down at them!" ~ deshrubber
Cosplay - Getting those Halloween Characters on Camera
You can have the most awesome Halloween Costume and yet, the picture just does not do it justice. So many people work tirelessly on their costumes but lack in knowing how to capture them properly. It's a huge shame because the photograph afterwards is Art in itself. Over-exposed faces, the wrong shoes, running make up and random backgrounds are just some of the things that people struggle to get right. It's firstly important to pose against a background that fits your costume. Bathroom mirror shots and 'arm chopped off' mobile phone shots are just not the way forward! You're better than that. If you can't find a backdrop, make one, or find a blank wall to help you out.
As with a lot of Halloween Photography, don't be scared to get up close and personal. If your face makeup is the best part of your costume, fill the frame with it! Equally if it's your hair - do the same there and so on. Be careful with the flash, don't use auto - if you have to, then add some filler, a reflector or a diffuser to help take the glare down.
Check your shoes. Honestly, it's what people think about the least. Perfect costume - sandals on feet. Awesome scary zombie - wearing flip flops...don't let your shoes let you down. A rule that should be applied on and off camera!
Finally, strike a pose that's fitting to your costume. Snow White shouldn't flex her muscles and Superman shouldn't be looking timid and innocent. Get the pose right and you've added atmosphere right there.
Capturing Your Pumpkin
As many of you know, the Capture Your Pumpkin Contest has launched! So why not take advantage of these tips in capturing your Pumpkin most effectively and having a chance to win the contest! Pumpkins, or as some of you know them - Jack - o - Lanterns - are a beautiful subject at Halloween. Warm glows, Orange hues, lovely long shadows - they make everything cosy and round off the perfect Halloween Decorations. So it's important you turn off the flash, grab a tripod and change to a long shutter speed to get some great glows and minimal blurs.
If you’re photographing outdoors and your shots only capture the glow of the jack-o-lantern and nothing of its outer shape, try creating some makeshift lighting with a flashlight raked against the outer hull of the pumpkin–you can generate some pretty dramatic lighting effects this way!
The more light your jack-o-lanterns pump out, the more bewitching they’ll appear through your lens. Try to maximize the size of the openings to allow as much candlelight as possible to get out. Bigger openings will also help if you want to use your jack-o-lantern to cast light on bystanders. And the bigger your pumpkin, the easier it’ll be to make those openings large! Also don't forget - it's not all about the carving...