Halloween is just a few days away, and this year, you've got a new resolution. You're going to get some terrifyingly cute pictures of your young ones before they're too cool for all of this. If there was ever a time to brush up on your photography skills, this is it. Try out the following tips and see if you can't get a few gems this Halloween season.
Get Up Close To Your Subjects
It's all about the details. Halloween is a great time for fun portraits. This time, instead of just focusing on your subjects, you should focus on the small differences and details in the way they are dressed. Maybe your subject has put on a ton of makeup to make a gash on her face. Don't focus on her eyes. Focus on the gash.
Increase The Sharpness Of Your Images
As a general rule, you'll want sharper images on Halloween. That's because the sharpness highlights the details and makes them truly creepy. There are a few ways to create more sharpness in your images. You can increase the aperture on your camera, decrease the ISO, or you can simply sharpen in Photoshop and Picasa after the night is done.
I would say you'll get the best results with software-based sharpening. You're going to be using a bunch of different camera settings throughout the night and day to get the right exposure, and if you're going to sharpen one image, you might as well sharpen them all.
Try To Take As Many Photos As You Can During The Day
Most people can't afford the camera setup that is required to take professional grade night time portraits. To compensate for this, take as many photos as you can during the day. You can make some of these photos black and white later on, so nobody will really be able to tell that they were taken in natural sunlight.
If you have kids, get your kids to dress up in their costumes and do a "practice run" in the afternoon. The mall is another good idea. Many malls allow your kids to dress up and trick or treat on Halloween, especially if Halloween happens to fall on the weekend. Whatever you do, just keep the following in mind. The more places you go on Halloween, the better your chances are that you will find an interesting setting to photograph your kids. Don't just rely on trick or treating at night.
If You Are Going To Use A Flash...
Be careful, flashes can get really bright and wipe out the detail you're trying to capture this Halloween, especially when you fire them directly at your subject. To get the most out of your Flash, make sure you use a diffuser of some sort or aim your flash at the wall and use the light that bounces back to illuminate your subjects.
What is a diffuser, you ask? A diffuser is a material that you place in front of your flash to spread it out and make it much less harsh on your subjects. Almost any material can act as a diffuser as long as it is transparent enough to transmit light. You can make a diffuser with some materials lying around (check out this article), or you can purchase a variety of portable diffusers at your local camera shop.
A Final Note On Composition And Creativity
Halloween is a special time. That's why you should invest the effort into making each image stand out on its own. Don't just go for the standard snapshot with your subject in the middle of the frame. Place your subject more to the side and create a space for your subject to look into. We have already covered many of these ideas in previous articles, but they are always worth mentioning again and again.
If you aren't familiar with the rule of thirds, it's the basic idea that if you place your subject in one of the 4 thirds of the frame, your image will naturally appear much more interesting to the viewer. These 4 thirds are the upper left corner, the upper right corner, the lower left corner, and the lower right corner. Doing this creates a visual balance in the photo that truly makes everything pop.
With these techniques (some old and some new), you should be able to capture the little details that make Halloween such a fun time.
Were you able to take some creepy and crawly images this Halloween? I'd love to see them! Share them with me (and other photography lovers) in our new Digital Photo Secrets Light Halloween Gallery.
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