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Halloween Photography: Tips and Tricks on How to Take Spooky Photos

Halloween Photography: Tips and Tricks on How to Take Spooky Photos

Every year on October 31st, many countries celebrate one of the most awaited holidays in the world today: Halloween. Originally an ancient festival of Samhain, it was celebrated by the Celtic culture through bonfires and costumes designed to ward off evil spirits and ghosts of the departed. 


Today, people follow almost similar but modernized rituals, such as dressing up in scary costumes or unique cosplays of their favorite fictional characters or celebrities. Kids also go out with their friends and family for trick-or-treating, knocking on doors for candies and treats. Houses display figures and decorations, especially the holiday-signature icon, jack-o’-lanterns or hollowed-out and carved pumpkins, to mark the occasion.

Getting Started with Halloween Photography

Halloween Photography: Tips and Tricks on How to Take Spooky Photos

Halloween also provides an opportunity for professional and beginner photographers to show off their skills and add images that highlight the spooky icons and haunting themes of this season. From hair-raising creative scenes to blood-curdling portraits, these ghostly and spine-chilling images surely add a twist to a newbie shutterbug or a professional lensman’s portfolio.

This article will help you get started with Halloween Photography through basic tips, camera settings to use, and specific tricks that you can apply in your first Halloween photoshoot.

Let’s start with some camera photography fundamentals and some examples to properly explain these details.

ghostly and spine-chilling photos

Halloween Photography Tips and Photoshoot Basics

Whether preparing for a devilishly cute or terrifyingly thought-proving photoshoot for Halloween, it’s crucial to have the following Halloween photography trips and photography basics in mind.

1. Conceptualize your subject and choose your location.

    The first part of any photo shoot should be planning and conceptualization. Plan on what subject and themes you want to focus on. Then, you’ll decide on the perfect location that will enhance the story that your subject wants to represent. Your goal is to capture an image that stands out.

    For the subject, it can be a model in costume, a significant object relevant to the theme of the holiday, or a landscape scene that gives you that spooky and otherworldly Halloween vibe.

    Conceptualize your subject and choose your location

    For your location, you’ll have a lot of options. Make sure that they are accessible and open to the public. Most importantly, they should be safe and free from hazards that could ruin your photo shoot, harm your model, or break your expensive camera equipment. 

    Some examples of Halloween photoshoot locations are eerie woods, dark alleys and subways, abandoned buildings and houses, foggy mountains and riverbanks, among others.

    Once you’ve decided on your subject and location, you can apply the camera tips and tricks that we have for you in the following sections.

    2. Take advantage of the elements of light and darkness.

      No, we’re not talking about supernatural beings, but literal light and dark elements in your photographs. When doing Halloween photoshoots, you have to find the perfect balance of highlights and shadows.

      ghostly photos halloween

      Shadows or darkness will set the mood of your image and forward the scary theme of the season.  Highlights and using the right light source and directionality, on the other hand, emphasize your subjects and create a unique mood that you want to express. The resulting contrast between dark and light delivers a mysterious, sinister, and haunting image.

      A. Halloween Outdoor Photoshoot

      You can use natural light or the lack of it, for example, during a full moon or a few minutes before dusk or dawn if you’re doing an outdoor photoshoot. For this type of setting, you can make use of directional lighting coming through a building’s window or focused light sources, such as strong bands of light from gaps and slits of surrounding structures. You can also make use of ambient lighting from dimly lit street lights and bulbs.

      Halloween Outdoor Photoshoot

      Let’s look at one of the perfect examples of vintage Halloween photos. The photo above shows the eerie atmosphere of a weakly lit subway tunnel. You can take advantage of the soft lighting and the streaks and strobes of red lights behind the scenes to create a scary movie-themed shoot. Complement the background with a familiar Halloween costume in reference to famous slasher movie icons. 

      B. Halloween Indoor Photoshoot

        You can also take advantage of the control that a dark basement or indoor studio offers. Just make sure you have the complete light sources, such as flash guns, strobes, or spotlights ready for the shoot. Strobes, flash units, and spotlights can help you capture dramatic and high-speed photos in complete darkness.

        Halloween Indoor Photoshoot

        You can make things simple. For example, a complete dark photo studio with a single flash unit can be more than enough to deliver a simple yet powerful scary Halloween photo. You can use a skull, a popular symbol of the season, as your subject. Find the perfect angle and let the stark contrast of light and shadows do the rest. 

        3. Tell a story through proper framing and composition.

          Halloween photography is a form of creative photography known for the visual narratives that its photos tell. To achieve this rich story-telling, you have to know the right framing and composition to use for your photos. How will you do it?

          Deciding on a visually-interesting foreground, a well-defined subject, and a complementing background can give your images depth and unique layers. The combination of these three elements can help you accurately tell the story that you want to portray. 

          Tell a story through proper framing and composition

          Let’s further explain it by example. If you’re shooting a cemetery scene, you can choose a subject positioned behind blurred-out tombstones to give emphasis on the subject, such as an old stone monument on top of a grave marker. The background is thick foliage of trees illuminated by the almost vanishing rays of sunset.

          The positioning and focus on your solitary subject against the cold foreground and supported by the detached background deliver a thought-provoking and sinister story to your audience.

          4. Be more creative with unique camera angles.

            Perspective and angles in photography are two relevant elements that help photographers stand out and capture unique images, especially among millions of competitors. When capturing scary Halloween photos, leveled, low-angle, and high-angle shooting are different perspective options that can add more twists to your images. 

            Be more creative with unique camera angles

            For example, aiming your camera lens upward can make your subject seem powerful and intimidating. Haunted houses, tall and eerie buildings, and models in terrifying costumes are just extra scarier.

            On the other hand, shooting from a higher location and positioning your lens low towards the ground does the opposite. You can use this to describe and portray fear or vulnerability and imply danger or imminent doom, among other bone-chilling scenarios.

            shooting from a higher location and positioning your lens

            You can also try framing your images in out-of-the-ordinary angles to portray chaos, panic, and other surreally bizarre perspectives. This unusual point of view can make the observers feel that something is not quite right. 

            5. Experiment with your image’s visual texture.

              Make your photos as realistic as possible. If you want to take totally scary images, experiment with texture. Aside from adding depth to your shots, textures can also add character to your photographs.

              Experiment with your image’s visual texture

              What are the visual textures that you can try? For example, you can look for the rich textures of abandoned or dilapidated buildings, such as peeling paints, rusty metals, broken windows, and crumbling walls. You can also take advantage of the otherworldly haze and dust of a sleepy city at dawn or dusk. If you’re shooting indoors, drapes and other thin fabrics can mimic ghostly apparitions and movements.

              Adding to the texture are props that help you tell your visual narrative better. We’ll talk more about these in the next section.

              6. Make use of props for a dynamic image.

                Aside from the typical Halloween favorites, such as jack-o’-lanterns, candles, skulls, and drapes, you can also use other modern materials as props. Smoke bombs, light sticks, face paint or makeup, fake blood, costumes, and fake weapons can add drama and character to your shots.

                Make use of props for a dynamic image

                Your props will depend on your subject, your location, and the story that you want to convey. Aside from the physical and tangible objects that you can use, you can also add natural elements to your shot. 

                These include thick and heavy clouds to set that looming darkness, fog and mist in the middle of a forest to establish a sense of isolation, a silhouette during a full moon, or a lightning storm background to add to your portraiture.

                7. Master your camera equipment’s functionalities.

                Aside from using your subject and your background to capture unique Halloween images, you can also use your camera’s most basic functions to deliver creative images. 

                But what camera equipment should you prepare? Lastly, what camera settings should you pay attention to? We’ll answer these here.

                Let’s start with your basic camera equipment and accessories.

                A. Basic Camera Equipment

                  For starters, you’re going to need your camera capable of Manual Mode. You’ll need the flexibility and adjustable settings of a manually-operated camera to achieve this simple yet technical shot. You’ll also need a stable tripod to prevent blurs during the long-exposure technique. Lastly, don’t forget your light sources, such as flash units and strobes, among others.

                  background to capture unique Halloween images,

                  B. Additional Camera Accessories

                    Aside from your basic camera equipment, make sure you have your wireless camera trigger capable of remote control modes. Some examples of these remote triggers are MIOPS Smart+ and FLEX. Why is using either of these mobile camera controls important?


                    MIOPS FLEX, for example, is a smart and intuitive camera trigger that can be attached to your camera. Once attached, FLEX, through a dedicated MIOPS mobile application, will allow your smartphone to wirelessly control your camera. Why is remotely controlling your camera important?

                    camera settings halloween

                    These remote camera control devices eliminate the risks of blurs and missed shots since you don’t have to manually click your camera’s shutter to take a shot. Additionally, you can adjust your camera’s Aperture, ISO, Exposure, and other settings from your phone and save the settings as presets.


                    Most importantly, devices like these have dedicated settings designed to capture specific scenes. These include Long Exposure Mode, High-Speed Photography Modes, and Time Lapse Modes, to name a few.

                    To give you a full picture of what these additional camera accessories offer, let’s look at some camera techniques and how you can use them to capture modern or vintage Halloween photos. 

                    Long Exposure Shots

                    Motion blur, for instance, is one of the most popular Halloween photography techniques that you can use. What it does is capture a rapidly moving object’s motion streaks and patterns through a long exposure shot. 

                    Motion blur, for instance, is one of the most popular Halloween photography

                    If you’re using a model, their movement can create a ghostly, haunting, and surreal photo that is ideal for a chilling theme. You can also use smoke bombs to capture the mystical and magical patterns of rising and dancing colorful clouds and fumes.

                    You can also take advantage of the wide aperture and slow camera shutter to capture cool Halloween-themed light trails and patterns for a “The Purge-themed” portrait session as shown below.

                    The Purge-themed

                    Using a remote camera trigger with Long Exposure Mode, MIOPS FLEX will help you get the perfect settings according to the amount of light in your image, the duration of the shot, the number of frames per second, and other exposure-related adjustments, such as aperture, exposure, and shutter speed.

                    8. Deliver your images with clever post-processing techniques.

                    Finally, the last and equally significant stage of your Halloween photoshoot is the editing and post-processing stage. Beginner and professional photographers know that this stage can enhance their images and even correct shooting mistakes before they are published, submitted, or printed.

                    When editing and post-processing your Halloween photos, remember these three editing tips:

                    Going Black and White

                    Most Halloween images work best in monochromes of black and white. These hues can single-handedly create a creepy and eerie vibe compared to full-colored images.

                    Most Halloween images work best in monochromes of black and white

                    Defying Color Rules

                    If you decide to keep the original colors of your raw images, you can do so by adding filters and camera effects to make your photos look more surreal. For instance, you can exaggerate the saturation or make the images look pale through desaturation. You can intentionally use the wrong White Balance or the warmth and coldness of your photos to deliver a mood.

                    Adding More Texture

                    We talked about texture earlier and its importance to help your images have more visual layers and appeal. You can introduce more by editing your images and adding grainy filters. The unrefined, old, and eerie photos mimic the qualities of old photographs. Adding a vignette to your images can enhance the effect of the dark and gloomy composition.

                    How to Take Spooky Photos

                    Ready for Your First Halloween Photo Shoot? 

                    Hopefully, our technical and creative advice here has helped you get ready for your first Halloween photo shoot. As mentioned above, you’re going to need the right camera equipment, a MIOPS remote camera device, creative photography ideas, and clever post-processing techniques to create a photo that stands out. 

                    Remember these and you’ll be surely ready to take that first spooky image to add to your diverse portfolio! Have fun!

                    Blog Credit: Charm Villalon

                    Charm is a writer and a visual artist. Her drive to share ideas and stories is evident in her background in communication arts and language studies. Years of professional experience in content creation have given her a broad proficiency with the process of engaging online communities. An appreciation for multiple languages and cultures drives her to seek out experiences and capture these moments through her writing, digital art, and photography.

                    5 Tips to Shoot Scary Halloween Photography

                    5 Tips to Shoot Scary Halloween Photography

                    Halloween is just around the corner, a holiday that many people around the world eagerly wait for. This spooky celebration originated from the Celtic festival of summer’s end, the Samhain. According to the mythology of the Celts, it’s the time of the year when the veil between the world of the spirits, the Otherworld, and our world, thins. This allows souls, spirits, and other entities to return and haunt the land of the living.

                    Why Photographers Just Love Halloween

                    For kids, friends, and families, it’s a great time to dress up and present their spookiest, coolest, and even weirdest costumes. For professional photographers and beginners, it’s their time to summon their creativity and capture hair-raising, spine-chilling, and petrifying photos. This article will feature unique Halloween photography tips that will make this holiday fun and thrilling.


                    Getting Started on Your Halloween Photography Shoot

                    Deciding whether you’re doing your Halloween photoshoot indoors or outdoors should depend on the type of images that you want to capture. In a staged indoor studio, you have complete control of the source of light as well as setting the timing of the event. 

                    halloween photography

                    Indoor or Outdoor Halloween Photoshoot?

                    Indoor Halloween photography subjects may include people in costumes, Halloween food-themed photography and Halloween product photography, Halloween makeup photography, and other examples that require low lighting and staged stylized backdrops. 

                    Outdoor Halloween photography ideas are also more exciting because of the possibilities of shots, scenes, and events that you can capture through your camera’s lens. Aside from making use of natural light or the lack of it, you can also take advantage of landscapes and random streetscapes for more dramatic and unique storytelling. Outdoor photography sessions may provide unpredictability but it also means you get more creative and one-of-a-kind images from just a single session. 

                    Thrilling Halloween Photography Ideas That You Should Try This Year

                    If you’re still trying to figure out what images and photos to take this year, below are 5 tips to shoot scary Halloween Photography photos that will both horrify and bewitch your followers.

                    Add (a ghostly) spice to your pumpkin photos

                    The pumpkin is perhaps the most popular Halloween icon in many parts of the world. This orange fruit has thick shells and soft meat and pulp. They can be easily carved into ghoul-faced jack-o’-lanterns and are often placed in doorways, windows, or lawns, as a common holiday decoration. You can make them look like this scary creature with a demonic grin or a cute pumpkin head that brings treats instead of tricks.

                    Add (a ghostly) spice to your pumpkin photos

                    Speaking of tricks, how should you add spice to your jack-o’-lantern photo? Two words: smoke bombs. Many photographers use different props and effects and smoke, using a smoke machine or a smoke bomb, can transform a simple ghoul head into a classic spooky photo. You can also experiment and use smoke bombs of different colors. 

                    Using Long Exposure Photography, you can achieve a smoother, more flowing effect for your smoke effect. This effect can be achieved by even just using your beginner camera equipment. While achieving this seemingly advanced timelapse image can be intimidating, using the right camera device will help you capture this surreal shot.

                    Take Eerie Photos of Ghosts and Apparitions

                    Sharing ghost stories and tales of eerie encounters can make your holiday with friends and family unforgettable. As a photographer, your form of story-telling is through your photos. No, you don’t have to spend the night in an abandoned, and not to mention, haunted building, to capture photos of ghosts and apparitions. You can DIY and tell your own story. 

                    Take Eerie Photos of Ghosts and Apparitions

                    Using the combined techniques of long exposure and multiple exposures, as well as quick post-processing, you can achieve this shot. As mentioned earlier, long exposure gives you that smooth movement and transition from one frame to another. What is normally considered noise and a failure in taking a crystal clear image, this photography trick is more of a fascinating method to create images of ghostly apparitions that will definitely trick an untrained eye.

                    Set up Slasher-movie themed Halloween photography backdrops

                    If you like taking photos of the great outdoors and are a big fan of Slasher movies, there’s a way to combine your two favorite things and create an exciting outdoor Halloween photoshoot: a midnight or evening shoot to hunt for the most haunting Halloween photography backdrops that you can combine with your other spooky shots.

                    There’s one secret to capturing the Slasher-movie type backdrops: using natural elements and sights, especially one as risky and exciting as lightning strikes. Lightning bursts and strikes add more thrill and intensity to many popular slasher films out there, and it’s easy to recreate them using your manual-capable DSLR camera and your high-speed camera trigger that can capture lightning bursts.

                    Set up Slasher-movie themed Halloween photography backdrops

                    A quick tip when it comes to lightning photography: a lightning strike is one of the fastest events in nature and one of the riskiest too. Make sure that you are well-prepared. Bring a reliable camera and tripod, a camera trigger, a weatherproofing kit for your camera, and do your research first before going into your first lightning photography shoot. Check your local weather station and storm watch reports for possible lightning strikes. 

                    Capture the creatures of the dark using Light

                    Halloween photography tips don’t always have to be scary. Sometimes, it’s also interesting to play around with the concept of cool, weird, chilling, and modern-themed outfits and props. As long as your idea still revolves around the vibe of thrill, you’re still in. 

                    Light Masks, for example, have dominated the holiday’s “cooler” and more modern costume and prop stage. This was made popularized by the 2013 dystopian action horror movie, The Purge, and has since been a mainstay in the Halloween costume party theme. Light masks, as the name suggests, is a dazzling mask characterized by bright, neon LED lights that pattern X-shaped eyes and a sinister grin. Aside from its awesome effect in photos, as a photographer, you should take advantage of the light that it emits. Using a Long Exposure shooting method, you can capture a modern-day Halloween icon. Choosing a fitting backdrop, like an abandoned lot or on top of a dilapidated building, can craft out a storyline of terror and fright. 

                    Capture the creatures of the dark using Light

                    This is a perfect idea for photographers who are taking on solo photoshoot projects and it won’t require a lot of equipment and props. All you need is your regular DSLR, a basic lens, a tripod, and a remote camera trigger.

                    A smart camera device, like MIOPS’ has a dedicated long exposure mode that allows you to take control of your camera through your mobile phone. MIOPS’’ camera triggers and smart devices will let you choose the best exposure value, depending on your light source, as well as the length of your timelapse shoot. It will also let you control the interval and frequency of your images based on the kind of light patterns that you want to achieve. Later, we’ll tell you more about these features. 

                    Take professional product photography photos of your “scary” but yummy Halloween treats

                    Halloween is not complete without the candies and goodies shared among neighbors, friends, and families. If you’re a product photographer, an entrepreneur that sells homemade goods, or even just a hobbyist who wants to show off their Halloween creations through photos and greeting cards, this advice is for you.

                    Creativity is key when taking photos of your spooky treats. Aside from taking still-life pictures of your goodies served on a plate or flat laid on a table or counter, you can also portray movement and action. Freeze your products mid-air using a high-speed photography technique. Capture the colorful sizzles of your signature witch’s brew and other Halloween cocktails through water splash and water drop photography. How about showcasing your skills and your process of making your Halloween baked goods using timelapse product photography for your vlog?

                    5 Tips to Shoot Scary Halloween Photography

                    There’s no limit to what you can do as a photographer and as a fan of this colorful and exciting holiday. Aside from skills, creativity, and your camera bag, there’s one gear that you absolutely have to include in your Halloween photography equipment to be successful at not just one but all of these photography tips that we mentioned above.

                    What Camera Equipment Do You Need for Your Halloween Shoot?

                    The camera equipment you need for your Halloween shoot will depend on the type of images and events that you want to capture. Your regular DSLR, as long as it supports a Manual Mode, can do the job. Setting your camera in this custom mode will help you easily adjust the ISO, exposure, aperture, and shutter speed, to find settings and modes that best fit your subject.  Use it with your beginner or advanced lens kit and pack some lens filters for a more surreal, out-of-this-world effect. Of course, make sure that you have a tripod for more versatility, especially if you’re doing the shoot outdoors.

                    Most importantly, make sure you have a smart camera trigger or a camera slider in your camera bag. Using these camera devices will make a huge difference, especially when you want to take advantage of speed, light, and motion to create unique images and scenes. 

                    If you’re aiming for the best shots and most creative Halloween Photography images this year, MIOPS is introducing MIOPS FLEX as an addition to its growing camera devices that have transformed how photographers capture photos and videos. 

                    MIOPS FLEX for Creative Halloween Photography

                    MIOPS FLEX is the best partner for your DSLR camera in shooting your most creative Halloween photos and images for many other photography techniques. 

                    Capturing Smooth Timelapse Videos. This MIOPS device specializes in taking timelapse videos and images. Many of the tips discussed in this article rely on a smooth and reliable timelapse photography method to create mesmerizing and surreal effects of objects and elements in motion. Eerie photos of ghosts and apparitions, colored smoke bombs to create that strange and otherworldly ambiance, as well as light patterns and light trails photography, are just some of the many subgenres that you can explore with MIOPS FLEX.


                    Freezing Fast Events Using Different High-Speed Photography Modes. Using MIOPS FLEX, your regular camera can capture lightning strikes, breaking glass, popping balloons, flying food, floating objects, high-speed water splashes, and many more examples of high-speed events. Capturing these rare and elusive events can level up your Halloween photos portfolio and help you stand out among the thousands of photos posted online. 

                    Upgrade Your Product Photography and Branding Skills Using MIOPS FLEX’s Live Framing Mode. Creatively market your Halloween goodies and treats using this device’s Live Framing mode, a feature that shows how your photo will look on a magazine cover, card frame, or catalog layout beforehand. Aside from saving you more time during the post-processing, it will help you achieve a more fitting framing and composition. It will also help you set up your products and see what colors and elements work best together.

                    Enjoy more possibilities and features, especially when it comes to taking HDR shots. Speaking of ditching post-processing, MIOPS FLEX’s HDR Mode extends your camera’s bracketing limitations to give you the freedom to take multiple images of the same scene using different exposures. Additionally, this mode will combine your shots into a single HDR image in seconds. 

                    MIOPS FLEX as An Exciting Addition to Your Camera Bag

                    Overall, MIOPS FLEX features different creative modes: the Laser Mode for detecting movement and motion, the Sound Mode for capturing loud events, such as balloon popping or bullet photography, Timelapse Mode and Long Exposure Mode, for astrophotography or other landscape photography genres, as well as a Stormlapse Mode for capturing lightning strikes and lightning burst videos. It also has a geo-tagging function for appending geographic coordinates to your images and videos. 

                    MIOPS FLEX can be controlled through your smartphone, using MIOPS’ dedicated mobile application. The app also provides a live preview of your images and videos even while the shoot is ongoing. 

                    Moreover, from the MIOPS app, you can adjust the f-number, set your shutter speed, change your ISO value, and wirelessly trigger your camera. Additionally, file transfer from one device to another and sharing them on your social media and online pages are made easier through the mobile application. 

                    Clearly, MIOPS FLEX is a perfect addition to your camera bag. This is also a very thoughtful gift to the most creative photographers in your life. Want to know more about this smart camera product? Everything you need is just a click away. 

                    Blog Credit: Charm Villalon

                    Charm is a writer and a visual artist. Her drive to share ideas and stories is evident in her background in communication arts and language studies. Years of professional experience in content creation have given her a broad proficiency with the process of engaging online communities. An appreciation for multiple languages and cultures drives her to seek out experiences and capture these moments through her writing, digital art, and photography.

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