This is a post from the seventh edition of my (mostly irregular) Week of Lists where I bring you seven list-type posts, one per day starting on Saturday, October 25th and ending on Halloween, leaping from the darkest corners of your internetz and scaring you into mild confusion. Stay tuned!
I often gush over autumn photo opportunities, waxing poetic on the pixel potential of the autumn foliage displaying a wicked array of fall fancies, reds and oranges popping from the wash of slowly yellowing leaves. Long, slow sunsets basking the landscape in early golden hours. And the glow on everyone’s faces as the warm summer air makes a hasty escape and is replaced by cheek-chilling cool winds.
But Halloween is like the (chocolate covered, candied) cherry atop the autumnal photo festival. And here’s why…
4 Perfect Excuses to Take Photos on Halloween
Style: Action and Portraits
In my neighborhood people dress up. Kids and adults alike, don costumes for the trick-or-treat main event, but also for days in advance for parties and spooky nights at local venues. But the awesome thing about costumes is that along with the fabric, latex and make-up often comes along a parallel shift in the wearer’s personality, too. Halloween is, after all, a chance to let the little spooky character out of the cage.
Portraits are about capturing personality. Capturing a moment in time, but from that getting a glimpse at a character. So while for three-hundred and sixty some odd-days of the year portrait photographers usually get to snap pics of the prim and proper, families in the sunday-best, little kids posing just like mommy told them, or the happy couple on their special day… on halloween an alter ego is there for the snapping.
And speaking of characters, I always find a few sitting on my doorstep in the form of…
Style: Still Life with a Light Source
We’ve carved pumpkins for every year that I can remember. Even when I lived in an apartment by myself, I found an hour as Halloween approached to tear a face into an orange gourd. And every year, without fail, I’ve snapped a few photos.
Pumpkins are the challenge of Halloween. You want it to be dark enough to get the full-on eerie effect. You want a flickering candle inside to let the carved face show. But then you need to light the outside of the pumpkin, too, so that it isn’t just a glowing orange face hovering in a field of black.
Want a Halloween challenge, then? Just go out trick-or-treating and try and get a few really, truly good pumpkin photos… it’s a tough one, isn’t it? Sometimes I think I’d even like to just slice one in half, hold it up to the sky and make a perfect…
Style: Outdoor and Backlit
I mentioned the long, slow sunsets in my introduction. If you’re really lucky, your Halloween night will be kicking into gear as the sun is setting on a partially cloudy sky, the orange and purple hues layering your trick-or-treating adventures in a spooky dusk.
Hold that moment. If your neighborhood is anything like mine, it’s been draped in fake spider-webs and the skeleton clatter of a few dozens of plastic decorations. Sure, they make look cheesy in the daylight, but have you ever noticed that as silhouettes cast against the last of the October sun, they actually look pretty awesome.
Of course, that may take some efforts of posing and framing, but hey… you gotta do something while the kids are running from house to house nabbing…
Style: Colourful Food Photography
Hipster trends aside, being able to get great photos of awesome food is something every photographer should have in their bag of tricks. Making a steak look mouth watering, an apple look crisp and fresh, or a steaming mug of fresh coffee waft scent right off the screen and into the viewer’s imagination… those are mad skills.
Every year as trick-or-treating ends we dump out a bag of candy onto the floor –to sort, for sake of both curiosity and paranoid parent safety– and each year it strikes me as a great opportunity to capture the crazy mounds of glorious colours.
Candy doesn’t need much help to look scrumptious, but by about nine o’clock on the thirty-first, anyone involved in the crush of Halloween has probably seen enough of the sweet stuff to make this an epic battle of wills: you against the sugar.