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Halloween Trick-or-Treating Picture Tips

by Elliott on October 6, 2012

Halloween pictures are challenging because of the light

Halloween pictures are challenging because of the light

Halloween is coming up so it’s a good time to get ready to take some great trick-or-treating pictures.  Trick-or-treating is a nighttime activity that doesn’t give you a lot of options for your camera settings.  I outline below a list of things that can help enhance your pictures on Halloween night.

Lighting the Background

One of the most common things that I see when looking at nighttime or indoor pictures is a well lit subject with an indistinguishable fading-to-black background.  You can’t really see the context of the picture.

Use a Fast Film Speed

Changing your film speed to something fast is necessary when taking nighttime pictures.  You will get grainier looking pictures, but taking pictures with fast film speed is necessary in this situation.

Use a Wide Open Aperture

When it’s dark out, you won’t have too many options in terms of exposure.  You will want to gather as much light as possible.  A wide aperture will help you gather more light.

Keep Your Shutter Speed Reasonably Fast

Of the variables that allow you to take pictures in dark conditions, shutter speed shouldn’t be sacrificed because there’s a lot of movement when trick-or-treating.  If you plan on posing your subjects, then you can make the shutter speed a little slower.

Make sure to have good exposure for foreground and background elements

Make sure to have good exposure for foreground and background elements

Lighting the Subject

The most important part of your picture should be your subject.  If anything must be exposed properly, it should be your subject.

Add Rear-Sync Flash

All of the previous suggestions are intended to keep your background from becoming an indistinguishable black mass.  Adding flash will help you light up what’s in the foreground, your subjects.  Rear-sync flash means that the camera will fire the flash at the end of the exposure.  If your flash is powerful enough, you can light up a lot of your backdrop as long as it’s not too far away.

Use an Off-Camera Flash

This suggestion is harder to do because it requires special equipment.  Using your on-camera flash will likely produce red-eye unless you use a red-eye reduction feature, which are annoying.  Using an off-camera flash will counteract the red-eye problems.

Take Pictures Near Outdoor House Lighting

If your subject is near outdoor house lighting, that’s the most off-camera light you will likely get.  Using house lighting will also give your composition a better context to where your subject is at or what they’re doing.

Use Your Focus Light or Manual Focus

There will be times when your autofocus will have a hard time finding something to focus on because it’s too dark.  Make sure that your focus light is on if you have one.  If it’s not working out for you, switch to manual focus.  If you have to use manual focus, it may be hard because you’re probably using a wide open aperture which will cause your depth of field to be very narrow.

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