Halloween Photography: Faces to Put on Pumpkins

Tips and Techniques for Photographing These Colorful Seasonal Subjects

by Kerry Drager

© Jim Miotke
All Rights Reserved

Working with Light

A giant white canopy (i.e., an overcast sky) casts beautifully soft and even light - ideal for shooting pumpkins, Jack-o'-lanterns, scarecrows, and other Halloween scenes. Just be sure to leave the bright white sky out of the composition, since it could 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 a warm-toned spotlight on your warm-toned subject. Harsh, sunny midday? Even up the lighting extremes ... by either filling in the shadows with fill-in flash or a reflector. Or, if possible, move your subject into the shade.

Of course, with a lighted pumpkin at nighttime, you will be working with artificial light. Be careful with your metering ... make sure that the brightest parts (candle or bulb) or the darkest parts don't dominate your reading. You might want to vary your exposures (shoot with different settings) in order to ensure that you get things right.

Happy Pumpkin
Happy Pumpkin
© Kerry Drager
All Rights Reserved

Working with Composition

A big scene that features a colorful carved pumpkin is always a possibility ... i.e., to show your subject in its surrounding environment. But beware of any distracting objects or bright "hot spots" that might draw attention from your main subject. Of course, the smaller view can often reveal more about a subject than the broader perspective, so don't hesitate to move in - or zoom in - tight on your subject. For example, try filling up the viewfinder with your carved pumpkin.

Resources for Capturing Faces to Put on Pumpkins

BetterPhoto Gallery:
- Scarecrow Face Patterns and Other Halloween Pictures

How-To Article:
- Funny Pictures: How to Capture Humor in Photos

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 - www.kerrydrager.com.

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.