Ahh, here it is, Halloween. An interesting holiday if you live here in Northern America. If you do not, it is probably a hard holiday to understand. But, now it has become one of North Americas 2nd most popular holiday next only to Christmas. Only Christmas has more money spent per household than this Halloween holiday. And it seems to get bigger and bigger every year. Parties, and even grown-ups are becoming more involved in this holiday than ever before. And as you can imagine, more opportunities to take pictures.
Years ago when I took a photography class from the New York Institute of Photography, they spent some time specifically on this subject, or this type of subject in general. There are 3 things that make picture taking work right for this type of holiday, or 3 questions you have to ask yourself:
1- What is the subject of the photograph?
2- How can I focus attention on that subject?
3- How can I simplify the subject?
What is the subject of this photo? Is it the girl? No, it is the teeth! Aren’t you focused on those teeth? Yes? Is it a simple picture, and no distractions in the background? Yes? So, all three of those questions are clearly met.
The three Guidelines are only part of the story on how to get great Halloween photos. The Second key, really, is to get into the “spirit” of Halloween. Halloween is about fantasy, fear, the supernatural, the eerie. The best thing you can do to make your Halloween photos even more dramatic is to use good, dramatic lighting. Since this seems to be a nigh-time event, and the ghouls are out for this holiday, it often means the lighting just has to be eerie, itself. Takes some great practice to get just the best effect, too.
Now, because we are talking about taking pictures at nightime, in the dark, do you forsee any problems? Ohhh, having worked at a camera store before, and seeing the pictures come in and so many disappointed people with their Halloween pictures, let me warn you now, the number one problem? Flash pictures will just take the effect away. So, shooting in the dark without flash is the best, but, it is hard when your camera is screaming at you that you need the flash. For sure, it’s even harder when your little boy is dressed in black and it is pitch black outside. So, figure some light that you can use to highlight the subject to give it some definition so you can still see what is going on with your subject:
See how in this photo there is just enough lighting to highlight the subjects and tell the story, yet, keep it very interesting.
But, of course, more than any other photo that is taken at Halloween is just all the cute kids that are dressed up in their costumes, ready to go “trick or treating” to all their neighbor’s homes. You have to get some photos of the kids. I am just going to include a few ideas of some of the great photos of some of these type of photos. Using what we have learned above, see if these follow those rules:
So, the idea with Halloween, is learn to be creative, have a lot of fun, but, you do have to take some great photos.
Here are some other great Halloween photos, just to give you some ideas: