Tuesday's Tips: Scary Photography

Happy Halloween!  Every Halloween the area around my Boston studio is filled with hundreds of trick or treaters.  I am not really sure where they all come from, but it's great fun to stand outside my studio with a bowl of candy, a camera and a strobe. 

Shooting these photographs is a mix of ambient light and strobe. Start your exposure with the element you can not control, that being the available (ambient) light.  Set your camera meter on manual exposure and your strobe on TTL.  Meter off the available light and use the strobe to fill in.  Due to darkness and very little available light you will be able to hand hold your camera at a much slower shutter speed than you normally would.  That slow shutter speed enables you to record what little there is.  The speedlight will fill in where you want it.  It's scary, but it works!

Strobe was on camera. I dragged the shutterspeed and moved my camera from right to left.  The Green light is from glow sticks which the kid was holding while trick or treating.  My settings:   1/1.6 seconds & F4 ISO 200.


Strobe off camera

I held my speedlight lower left.  Light coming from lower angle gives you eerily feeling, perfect for Halloween!  My camera was set on manual to read the ambient light (candle in this case) using the in-camera meter.  My exposure for this shot was  1/2.5 seconds, F4. ISO 200.  I used a Pocket Wizard Plus III to fire my strobe.   


Get Low!

Get low and use your foreground!  The ambient I read for my camera exposure came from the sky.  I hand held my speed light, using a Pocket Wizard Plus III to my left.


Get High!

Get high and use your foreground!  


Wait for dusk

Wait till dusk to start shooting!  This was strobe on camera, with the head of the strobe at a 45 degree and bounced through a cube.   


Play with focal length of your lens

Shot with a 16mm fisheye.

Shot at 50mm



Shot at 70mm


Don't be afraid to get close.... I'm sure they won't bite...


Happy Halloween! May everyone have a safe and fun Halloween!  

Come  join me for one of my Location Lighting Workshops!