Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Shooting Halloween!

Getting great shots at Halloween doesn’t have to be scary (see what we did there?). The season that was made for low light photography has lots of other photographic possibilities. Here are some ideas for making great photographs (along with some mischief!).

Low light usually means a tripod and that’s no exception here if you’re taking shots of lit up jack o lanterns, or another low light scene. You can also have loads of fun light painting with a flashlight or glow sticks (more on this later). We love the Benro tripod because it’s lightweight but still sturdy and we have this Benro Digital T800EX Aluminum Entry Level Tripod Kit for just $50! 

Neighborhood houses decorated their spookiest make great backgrounds and if you use a slow shutter speed you may even get some “ghosts” (in the form of costumed kids) passing through. 
We recommend carrying two lenses, a prime is amazing for details and lovely boo-keh portraits and you’ll also want a wide or zoom lens to get large scenes, if that’s what you’re after. Have you seen this beauty from Sigma? Their 19mm 2.8 Art lens shoots wide and gives sharp, high contrast images all at under $200!

Avoid using on-camera flash like a vampire avoids garlic! No really, unless you are looking for fill light while there is still some natural light, don’t do flash. Instead, get creative with your light sources. A grouping of candles can yield a spooky effect for a portrait. Safety first here, people, please be super careful with open flames especially when shooting costumes with long hair or other flowy elements. Also if there is a breeze and it’s kids? Probably a good idea to scratch it entirely.  A better bet for little ones is a colored filter or even just a piece of party cellophane in orange, purple or green over the flashlight and then pointing the beam up to the face from the chest area, you can even tie it up with some ribbon or twine and hang it around the neck.

Whether you’re shooting your family and kids or your whole crew headed to multiple parties, start before the witching hour. If you can, have a dry run with everyone a few days before the big night, as you’ll have more time to pose and rearrange and see what works and what doesn’t before Halloween arrives. If that’s not possible, try to get everyone to begin preparations a few hours early, while there’s still good natural light. 
Family and friends all ready to go! 
This is your chance to get all the neighborhood kids in one shot so their costumes can clearly be seen (this is also the easiest shot for you, so take advantage!)

Taken BEFORE it was completely dark, this friendly ghost is lit both from within and a few ambient sources. 

Almost dark now and this large lit up lawn decoration shines while we still get details of the house behind it. 

  • Don’t forget the details! Fingernails (claws and paws!), eyelashes, and fangs are among the great little things you don’t want to miss.

  • Inviting all your friends to one person’s house to all get dressed together can yield some great BTS shots, as candid shots putting on makeup, trying different poses and generally mugging for the camera while the lights are still on are so fun to see later.
  • Experiment with angle, get down low so the subject is looming above you looking like a menacing giant, or get up high on a step ladder and shoot down at a group.
  • Once it gets dark and the fun begins doesn’t mean you have to stop shooting! Now’s the time to grab a handful of glowsticks or a flashlight and make a light painting! Have friends spell out the word “spooky” against a dark background. You’ll need a tripod for this as a long exposure is called for to create the light trails and you’ll probably want a remote shutter release as well to reduce camera movement. Alternatively, you can have the light source stand still and move the camera (more work for you but try it)!

We hope you find these tips and tricks helpful as you prepare to record your Halloween festivities or just your neighborhood decorations. As always, we would love to see what treats YOU come home with!