5 Ways to Scarier Halloween Photos

Written by Backdrop Express Photography Team on . Posted in Holiday Photography, Photography Tips

5 Ways to Scarier Halloween Photos | Backdrop Express Photography Blog

Halloween is an exciting time of year when children and adults everywhere dress up in costumes. Many trick-or-treaters dress as their favorite super heroes and princesses, while others dress up as villains and monsters. Create awesome memories this Halloween by gathering your ghoulish friends together for some Halloween photos. Better yet, turn them into creepy photos that will spook all those who dare to look. Here are five ways that will enhance and make your Halloween picture even more frightening!

1. Lighting

Your technique of lighting the subject can separate a normal, pleasant Halloween portrait from a scary picture. Try using different lighting techniques and equipment to add that chilling effect to the subject. Some different lighting approaches include low lighting, rim lighting, harsh lighting and under lighting.
  • Shooting your portrait in an area where there is little to no lighting will make the photo appear darker.
  • Opposite to that is harsh lighting, which can be created by using a single, bright light that will create extreme differences between light and dark areas in the photograph.
  • Create a silhouette around your subject by using a rim lighting technique. This will make your subject appear as if he is glowing from behind. To achieve this look place the subject in front of a black background and shine the light from the back of the subject. You can also cast a spooky glow from underneath the subject using a flashlight or glow sticks.
  • An under lighting effect can also be done by turning the camera upside-down so the flash strikes the subject from below creating a mysterious, creepy photo.
  • Colored lights, especially red or green, will cast a horrifying glow over your subjects. Though black lights are tricky, they can also be used to create spooky lighting effects in your Halloween picture.
Halloween Backdrops

2. Camera Effects

There are a few different techniques that can be used by changing the setting on your camera or using additional equipment. These techniques include blurriness and filters. To create a blur effect, set your camera on a tripod or sturdy base and set the camera on a slow shutter speed. Then have your subject move as you take the picture. This will cast an eerie and ghostly shadow near the subject.

Add some color to the photograph by adding a colored or frosted filter to your lens. Don’t have any filters? Tape some cellophane over the lens to create the same effect.

3. Background and Subject Placement

Where you place your subject in the picture in relation to the background can create a spooky feeling as well. Try placing your subject in front of a brightly lit backdrop and expose the picture so that the background is underexposed. This will darken the foreground creating a silhouette of your subject.

Halloween BackdropsFeaturing: Spooky Night Printed Backdrop

Adjust your position and shoot children at eye level or an adult from below. Avoid positioning your subject in the dead center of the photograph. Find a frightening backdrop for your Halloween picture such as a boarded up house, a forest or area with large trees, an abandoned building, or an empty old attic. Can’t find spooky old locations in your neighborhood? Opt for an easy Halloween backdrop you can hang in your house.

Halloween Backdrops

4. Black and White

Get old school and shoot your Halloween picture in black and white, because no scary photo collection is complete without it. The contrast of black, white and various shades of gray alone will create a disturbing feeling to viewers. You can select the black and white option on your camera before shooting or remove color during post production.

Read more: 4 Tips for Black and White Photography

5. Props

  • Throw down some dry ice or use a fog machine to create a fog effect over your scene.
  • Add witches’ cauldrons, goblets, caskets, tombstones and skeletons props to the background. Heck, even a jack-o-lantern or a simple wooden broom can appear frightening when accompanied by any of the effects listed above.
  • Try adding pets, such as a black cat, that are often associated with tales from Halloween to enhance the fear factor in the photo.
Halloween Backdrops When it comes to making your Halloween pictures appear more frightening just remember to be creative. Use one, a few, or all of the above listed tips to help create a disturbing and spine-chilling feeling to your viewers. Keep practicing and your shots will be spooktacular before you know it!

What effects do you use that add a creepy element to your photos?

-Backdrop Express Photography Team

Interested in reading more about photographing Halloween? Check out 10 Tips to Make Your Halloween Pictures Stand Out!

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Comments (2)

  • Michelle M Ruiz


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  • Brandon Trevillian


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