Oct 29, 2007

Halloween Photo Tips

Halloween is spooky, but taking Halloween pictures shouldn't be. From a jack-o'-lantern's scary stare to frighteningly fun costumes, this holiday offers unique picture-taking opportunities. Special effects in your Halloween photography can transform an everyday image into something truly haunting.

Create ghostly afterimages on your film by using a slow shutter speed and a bit of movement. You're going to need a tripod for this. Each lighting situation is different and you will need to use your camera's lightmeter, along with experimentation, to find the right shutter speed. A rule of thumb for the amount of motion is to have the subject stand still for 2/3 of the time of the exposure. The movement should take about 1/3 of the time. For example, for an 8 second exposure the subject should be still about 5 seconds and move to a second position for 3 seconds.

Try getting down low. Most of the light we see comes from overhead lighting or the sun. When we use lighting from beneath a subject it breaks expectations and creates a feeling of uneasiness. The heavy use of this technique in movies throughout the years has increased this connection between low lighting and a perceived danger. Hold a flashlight under your subject's face to cast odd shadows over their features.

Jack O' Lanterns
The light used to illuminate the outside of the pumpkin and that of the candles inside is actually a delicate balance. Ideally, your photographs will want is to capture the candles glow from within the pumpkin, but still be able to see the outside of the pumpkin it's self.

If you use a flash, you'll over light the surface of the pumpkin and drown out the light from the candles inside. First off, turn the flash on your camera off, you don't want it. To help avoid the light inside the pumpkin from being to faint, we use two or even three candles.

The best technique is to take your pictures around dusk, before it becomes totally dark. Be sure to use a fast film, ISO 400 or faster is best. Use high quality film such as Fuji Film. Wait until dark, illuminate the outside of the pumpkin with in-direct artificial light, i.e. a lamp and light the candle(s) inside the pumpkin.