Oct 29, 2004

Taking Great Halloween Pictures

Follow these simple tips this year and get some real keepers.

Get close
When taking pictures, a common mistake is to stand too far back from your subject. Avoid distractions in the background by getting in close. By doing this you'll brighten up those ghostly nighttime scenes. And you'll be sure to capture costume detail and monstrous smiles on your children's faces.

Stay within your flashes range
Typically, flash range for digital cameras is 6 to 10 feet and up to 30 feet for pro cameras. Subjects outside the flash range will be either too dark or too light. Check your camera manual for the correct flash range.

Avoid those flash reflections
When you use flash, avoid windows and mirrors in the background. They'll reflect the flash, creating glare that can ruin an otherwise great shot. If you can't avoid them, stand diagonally from your subject to take the picture.

Catch the glow in those jack-o-lanterns
Turn off your camera's flash to turn up the glow in your jack-o-lantern. Check your user's guide if you don't know how. Then ignore any warning lights or beeps as you hold your camera extra steady and focus at the luminous face of your orange character. Use a tripod for extra sturdiness. Try taking the picture outside around dusk to take advantage of natural and artificial light. You can also create a hair-raising silhouette.

Bigger is better
If you know that you'll be photographing your finished product, carve your pumpkin with pictures in mind. A bigger opening for eyes or mouth will cast more light, especially if you plan to light up bystanders with its glow. And the bigger the pumpkin, the bigger the holes!

Add light to your subject
To safely brighten the light in your pumpkin, use a flashlight or two. Don't use candles because the open flame is dangerous. Make sure to adjust your angle so you don't see any of the light directly through the pumpkin's eyes or mouth.

The glow from the pumpkin has its limits, so play around with room or porch lights. Try dimming the room lights or turning on lamps in adjacent rooms. You can also ask a helper or two to shine flashlights on your pumpkin to give it highlights or reflections.

Parting words - Tell a story
Remember all the devilish details by taking pictures that tell the whole Halloween story. Capture the transformation from child to trick-or-treater. Keep your camera handy throughout the process, and be ready to capture eerie glares and goblin grins.

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Better Digital Photography