Halloween Photography: Tricks and Treats

Trick or treat’s coming up, so for the tricksters among us, this will be an early treat. Consider it the instructions you need to prank your friends and get some crazy shots from your camera that makes it look spooktacularly haunting.

Think ghosts, orbs and to the imaginative minds, unexplainable goings-on in the photos you take with them present, by capturing things that just aren’t there.

A Few Tricks for Pranks and Some Really Epic Halloween Snaps

  • Snap a Ghost

It’s hard for any photographer, no matter how seasoned they are, to get a picture of a ghost that can’t be explained. That’s because with today’s camera’s it’s super easy for anyone to snap what looks like a ghost.

The trick is in the camera’s shutter speed. Well, mainly. For those with a digital camera (DSLR), the fireworks mode used in a low-light setting works great for these. For smartphones, the only thing you need your camera to have is a long exposure time.

Set the shutter speed to 10-seconds, shoot in night-mode in a dimly-lit setting, such as in the woods just before sunset.

The part that makes the difference is the costume. Have someone who is dressed in a costume that looks like it’s from centuries ago. Think Victorian dresses, pirate costumes, and medieval knights.

By taking the photo with a long exposure time in the low light setting, any moving objects in the scene become semi-transparent. So, whoever’s going to play the part of the ghost, they only need to move when the photo’s being taken.

In photography, it’s called motion blur. For the non-photographer, it’s a pretty cool effect.

  • Put Some Orbs in the Frame

If you’ve watched any films or documentaries about the paranormal, you’ll know about the phenomenon of orbs. Little blurbs of light that appear to float around in mid-air with no rhyme or reason.

You can control where they appear and when.

Spray some water, or blow some talc up in the air, then snap a photo with the flashlight on. When the particles are lit up for that brief second, they’ll look like orbs in your photo. 

Photo Treats You Can Count for Memorable Halloween Snaps

Halloween dress-up and celebrations wouldn’t be the same next year if you couldn’t look back at some fantastic pics.

For that, here are a few tricks you can use to get the best photos taken on the night.

  • Time it right

For outdoor photos, take the ones you really want to look best an hour before sunset. Your smartphone may be able to tell you the time sunset will be on the day, but if not, search for it online, and you’ll know the time frame you have, to get your best shots taken.

  • Shoot from the hip

That’s if you’re using a tripod to keep your camera steady. If you’re shooting without any accessories, take yourself down to eye-level of the kids, so they fill the frame rather than look tiny against the backdrop of say, a humungous tree.

You always get better photos when you’re at the same height as whoever, or whatever your photographing.

  • Increase your Camera’s Shutter Speed for Action Photos

The shutter speed of your camera can be used for different effects. The shutter speed can be used to capture a sense of motion in your photos, or you can freeze time, which is great for taking action shots, such as your child jumping in mid-air when you capture the moment they’re in the air. You’d need a high shutter speed of 1/1600 for a photo like that.

Generally, for excited trick-or-treaters moving fast, you’ll be able to capture the best photos using 1/200 at least. The higher, the better. 

Play around with the settings of your camera to get some practice shots before the big night, and you’ll be happily surprised at what you can create.