Halloween photos: how to capture a macabre atmosphere

Walking through the streets, you discover terrifyingly perfect decorations and costumes! Here’s how to immortalise the moment and take amazing Halloween photos. Remember the basic rules of digital photography. And, because it’s Halloween… don’t be afraid!

Respect the Rule of Thirds

What’s the focal point of your photo? What’s the main interest for the viewer? These are the first questions you should ask yourself. Once you’ve got your answers, taking the shot will be a lot easier. The rule of thirds is a great guideline to help you frame your shot: imagine two vertical and horizontal lines crossing each other in the composition, like a tic-tac-toe board. Place your main subject or subjects where the lines intersect.

Fill The Frame

Halloween is a time of elaborate costumes, makeup and accessories, a time when people transform themselves into perfect subjects! It’s a great time to get nice and close to fill the frame with your subjects. Play with light and dark, capture movement, focus on the expressiveness of the body and face and look for drama in the shots. There’s plenty of it at this time of year.

Fill The Frame

Find the Right Angle

The day after Halloween, you’ll see hundreds of shots of pumpkins that all look the same. This is your chance to innovate and shoot something different. Find an unusual angle, play with your zoom, change up the framing, and enhance textures. In short, try to create a shot that’ll make your pumpkin really stand out in the patch.

Halloween pumpkin

Focus on the Details

Halloween is filled with all kinds of macabre images so why not make the most of them! People spend a lot of time decorating their homes and yards to create a supernatural ambiance. Infernal lighting, diabolical costumes, ghoulish children at every corner… there’s no lack of subject matter for you to capture.

Focus on the Details

Shooting in Low Light

The real action at Halloween happens after dark. Avoid the stark, harsh light of flash photography. There are a number of ways to use natural lighting to your benefit, so turn off your flash and try these three tips:

  • Increase your ISO: The higher your number, the more sensitive your image sensor is to light, so the easier it will be to get proper exposures in low-light conditions.
  • Reduce your shutter speed. That way your aperture will stay open longer, letting more light in. The camera has to be perfectly still to avoid blur, so using a tripod is a good idea.
  • Use a wider aperture. This enlarges the hole in your lens and lets more available light in. Some photos will appear grainy, which is all the more fitting for a day like Halloween!
HAlloween - Shooting in Low Light

Remember: you can always adjust your photos later to increase exposure or contrast if you don’t get the shot you want.

Pro tip: If you do decide to use a flash, you can always diffuse the light with coloured cellophane to try to lessen its impact upon your shot and give the light it produces a special glow. Red is a perfect choice for Halloween shots!


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Halloween photos: how to capture a macabre atmosphere

Wending your way through the streets, you discover terrifying houses and costumes! Here is how to immortalise the moment and take amazing Halloween photos.
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