Simple Tips For Memorable Halloween Photographs

Halloween 2010

Crazy custumes, spooky decorations, wacky funny people, it’s this time of the year where we go crazy about anything scary. Halloween is such an awesome tradition, so why not go out there have fun and make some great pictures.  There are plenty of subjects to photograph during  Halloween all you need is your camera, a little bit of patience and creativity.

Scary Halloween Face

Here are some tips that will help you capture those memorable halloween moments:

  • Gear Recommendation:
    • A fast lens with a max aperture of F/2.8 and up is ideal for low light photography, in this case the cheap Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Lens would be a great tool.
    • Zoom lenses will give you versatility and will allow you to take group and portrait shots. The Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM or the cheaper but reliable Tamron AF 17-50mm F/2.8 VC are my recommendation. You can also consider lenses in the 24-70mm range with a Fast F/2.8 aperture. In this range I can highly recommend the cheaper Tamron AF 28-75mm f/2.8 SP. With zoom lenses you have flexibility to zoom in or go wide anytime you need, with a prime you’ll have the convenience of a larger aperture at F/1.8 and up and easier to carry around compare to zoom lenses.
    • Don’t forget to bring your external flash, although you can use your camera’s pop up flash, the quality of light from external flash will give you more beautiful results.
    • A Flash Diffuser would be great to have, like the Demb flash Diffuser pro or the Opteka Universal Flash Diffuser. This will give you a more pleasing soft light at close range.
    • Flash Gels, I use the rosco gels, Orange and Reds are best for halloween to give you that scary halloween look. If you don’t have a flash gel, you can cut a orange or red plastic folder. Flash gels, can also work as a diffuser.
    • Don’ t forget to bring extra memory cards and extra battery.
    • And of course don’t forget you Camera.

Shot with a Canon EOS 20D with a Tamron 17-50mm F/2.8 Lens and Canon 430EX II Flash(No Gel) ISO 800, 34mm, F/2.8, , 1/50th, Manual .


  •  Making the Photograps.
    • Since most of the fun and actions occurs at dark, setting your camera to use it’s higher aperture, F/2.8 and up (F/1.8, F/1.4)  is recommended, if using a kit lens which can probably go up to F/3.5 will do. Depending on the aperture settings, increasing your ISO around 400 and above is recommended even when using a flash.
    • Use flash when taking candid photographs of people, I sometimes I use red or orange gels to give that warm reddish scary halloween feel. (See photo of scary clown below).
    • When using flash, make sure you use a diffuser to minimize harsh light, flash modifiers like the ones I mentioned above in the gear recommendation will do the trick and using  red / orange gels in this situation will also diffuse the light.
    • When shooting scenes like glowing lights or jack o lanterns, I wouldn’t recommend using your flash, dial your camera to use a wide aperture like F/2.8, F/1.8 or F/1.4 would be ideal and increasing your ISO to will also help. Sure, using high ISO will add noise and grain to your photograph, but if it’s the only way for you to capture the scene, why not, a grainy picture is better than no picture at all and besides, if people notices the grain or noise in your picture, it’s probably a boring picture.
    • Find something scary.
    • Meet new people.
    • and Most important of all, enjoy the night, have fun making pictures.
Halloween 2010
Shot with A Rosco Red Gel. Canon EOS 20D, ISO 800, 22mm, F/2.8 , 1/50th, manual
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