How excited are you that it is nearly Halloween? I am practically beside myself – I love to dress up and the outfits at Halloween parties are a great opportunity to get some super-cool shots of strange goings on.

To get a bit more out of your shots this year, try some of our ideas that add a dramatic edge, an eerie atmosphere and ghostly effects for a collection that will really give you goosebumps!

Lighting - Flash photography is a sure-fire way to ruin the spooky atmosphere is a photo. Instead, opt for lighting from below (think flashlight under the chin) and diffusing the flash using coloured cellophane. Both will give an eerie effect to your photos and provide light at the same time. Candles are a also wonderful way to light a shot without using a flash.

Top Tip
Wax paper or coloured cellophane over a flashlight is a fast-track way to create spooky lighting!

Perspective - Crouch down on the floor and point your camera up. The effect of someone looking down into the lens will be quite disturbing. To get that horror movie effect, get close up and get the subject to stare down the lens, as if making eye contact with you – it will up the scary factor loads!

Staged Photos - Make the most of all the crazy outfits and choreograph a scene. You will find that people are much more willing to pose for a picture when covered in face paints or wearing a mask!

Ghostly Apparitions - Taking a long exposure of a moving subject will give a ghostly quality to their presence, especially if it is down a corridor or on a flight of stairs! Another option is to take a multiple exposure, or recreating the multiple exposure effect in photoshop.

Jack o Lanterns - Flash off, ISO up, slow your shutter speed and open up your aperture. Use a few candles inside and put another candle behind the pumpkin to add an extra eerie glow.

Top Tip
Successful long exposures require plenty of practice – and a tripod! You can read more about daytime long exposure in our post A Guide To Daytime Long Exposures.

Essential Info!

It is most likely that you will be shooting in dark conditions so you consider:

  • Increasing your ISO

  • Slowing your shutter speed

  • Using a large aperture

Remember: The slower your shutter speed, the more movement you will capture. This is great for ‘ghostly’ shots, but might not be what you are after.

You can find out more about shooting in low light in our Understanding Your ISO post.

Top Tip
Turn your camera upside down to take the shot. The flash will fire from below, creating a completely different shot!

If you take some spooky shots for our weekly theme or for halloween, please share them in the comments below.

Photo credit thanks to Caitlan, Rebecca and Bruni

October 18th, 2012
Um, why no photog credits at the end of the article? 365 is a big proponent of using your own photos and giving credit where credit is due.....I know we can click on them, but that is a cop out answer. If that were credible, then every website in the world could just link the photo back to wherever it was they obtained it from, instead of crediting the photog.

The article was informative and enlightening. Just a minor tweak to the format and I think it'd be even greater!
October 18th, 2012
@shadesofgrey good idea! I shall update it in the morning, thanks.
October 21st, 2012

This is one of my entries for theme-scary
October 23rd, 2012
Thanks for the suggestion of using the camera upside down to get the different flash effect. :-D I'll give that a try when my little goblins and ghoulies get dressed up to Trick or Treat!
November 18th, 2021

Thanks for the tip about turning the camera upside down for a new lighting effect. :-D When my young goblins and ghoulies get dressed up for Trick or Treat, I'll give that a try!moto x3m is a very cool and aggressive adventure game waiting for you to conquer
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