Written by School of Imaging Instructor, Tom Tussey
Halloween is always a slightly tough time to get great photographs. Why?….most of our shots are outside with no background and it just turns black.
If you have a DSLR camera with removable lenses, choose a wider focal length to include more background (18 to 35mm length). This will allow your camera to light the trees and other items in the image.
Or if there is a lot going on in the picture a longer focal length to help you blur your background (50 to 85mm). This will isolate your subject and make them stand out from the background for a more professional look.
A DSLR camera or a Point and Shoot camera will do this best if you shoot in Portrait Mode. Use Sports Mode for taking photos of the kids in action as they act out their characters in the backyard. This will set your camera to take multiple shots quickly as you hold down the shutter. This mode will give you a greater chance of capturing that decisive moment. Use your flash to add some light to your child’s face, especially if you are in a backlit situation where the background is brighter than the subject. Usually you need to be in “P” Program Mode to force the flash to fire regardless of the background brightness. Most cameras have a flash compensation control, so you can perfectly light your child and have the background the perfect brightness as well.
You can also shoot in a scene mode called “Night Portrait” Mode. With this setting and a tripod(a must), you can add brightness to the background when you take photos after dark so that the lit pumpkins in the background glow and your flash lights up your child normally. In a mode like Auto or Program, you would not get the “glow” from the pumpkins and lights in the background. REMEMBER; Your pop up built in flash will not travel more than about ten feet, so keep your child within that distance so they are exposed properly. Have fun experimenting with some or all of these techniques as you capture those ‘priceless’ Halloween images this year!