Scarecrow Face Patterns - Fall Photography

Tricks and Tips for Photographing These Icons of Halloween

by Kerry Drager

Scarecrow Face Patterns
Scarecrow - Overcast
© Kerry Drager
All Rights Reserved

Working with Light: Scarecrow Face Patterns

A solid overcast sky acts like a giant white umbrella to cast wonderfully soft and even light - ideal for shooting scarecrows. The key to success: Leave the sky out of the composition, since the bright whiteness would overwhelm the rest of the picture. In other words, zero in nice and tight on your subject.

In addition early-morning or late-day sunlight can put your subject in a beautiful warm glow. Harsh, sunny midday? Even up the lighting extremes ... by either filling in the shadows with fill-in flash or a reflector. Or, if it's a scarecrow you own and it's reasonably portable, move it into the shade.

Scarecrow - Evening Light
© Kerry Drager
All Rights Reserved

Composing Your Image

Full-length photos and head-and-shoulders shots always make for strong images. But don't stop there. Successful portraits - whether people, pets, or scarecrows - often involve facial close-ups. Yet another option is the environmental portrait - which shows a subject in its immediate surroundings. The trick to capturing a subject in its natural environment? Make sure other elements in the scene don't detract from your star attraction.

Beware of Your Background

Simplicity is often the key word here. But that's not so easy for many visually busy backdrops in the outdoors, when many elements and colors compete with your main subject for your viewer's attention. The solution? A narrow depth of field - or selective focus - that features a sharp subject set against a blur of out-of-focus shapes and colors.

Obtain this "selective focus" look with a large aperture (low f/stop number), a fairly close-up subject, and a good distance between subject and background. A telephoto or tele-zoom lens completes this sharp-vs.-blur approach.

Halloween Scarecrow
Scarecrow - Overall View
© Kerry Drager
All Rights Reserved

Resources for Photographing Scarecrows

BetterPhoto Gallery:
- Scarecrow Face Patterns and Other Halloween Pictures

How-To Articles:
- Photographing Details: Developing Your Close-up Vision
- Overcast Photography: Good Light, Bad Sky

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- Photo of the Day

About Author / Instructor / Photographer, Kerry Drager
Photography Instructor: Kerry Drager
Kerry Drager is a professional photographer, teacher and writer who is also the co-author of two books: The BetterPhoto Guide to Creative Digital Photography and The BetterPhoto Guide to Photographing Light. He has taught many photography courses (online and in person), seminars and field workshops.

Be sure to check out Kerry's website -

Also, he is the author of Scenic Photography 101, the photographer of the photo-essay books The Golden Dream: California from Gold Rush to Statehood and California Desert , a contributor to the books BetterPhoto Basics and Daybreak 2000, and a co-photographer of Portrait of California. In addition, Kerry was profiled in the April 1994 issue of Outdoor Photographer magazine and in Vik Orenstein's 2010 book The Photographer's Market Guide to Building Your Photography Business, and his website was showcased in the January 2003 issue of Shutterbug magazine. Plus, his work has appeared in magazines, Hallmark cards and Sierra Club calendars, and in advertising campaigns for American Express and Sinar Bron Imaging.

Also follow Kerry on Facebook, where he posts photos several times a week that include shooting tips and thoughts.

Kerry lives with his wife, Mary, on California's Central Coast, with their three Newfoundland dogs, four cats, and a mixed terrier.