Sunday, October 11, 2015

How to ruin a great picture of a yard haunt. (Countdown to Halloween day 11)

We have a had a lot of excitement in our little town over the weekend. The movie "Big Stone Gap" that is named after our town and shot in it hit theatres nation wide. The red carpet premier was one block over from my front door.

We had HUNDREDS of people drive, walk, and run by our yard haunt which is in full swing. Time after time I saw people wanting to take a picture of "The Halloween House" only to see them ruin it in an instant. How do they ruin it? Using a flash.

Using a flash is the quickest way to ruin Halloween pictures especially if there is creepy lighting involved. I rarely use flash even when taking every day pictures choosing to use the ambient light and editing software. I cannot tell you the times I see photo flashes outside our windows at night as people try to capture a really cool pic only to find out it is ruined when they get home. I will show you some examples with the flash and without.

This awesome picture of a the cemetery at sunset using no flash.

Same picture as above but using a flash.

Again, all the super creepy details of the graveyard lighting and the dying sun are captured without a flash.

Reduced to 1980's polaroid picture quality with a flash.

Again, cool picture complete with real spider web!

Reduced to crud with a simple flash.

So how do you take pictures without a flash? Here are some simple steps to help you out :

  1. If you own a DSLR, set your aperture as low as it will go so it is fully open to take in more light. Most have an aperture priority setting.
  2. If you have a standard digital camera or smart phone, there should be a low light setting to help you take great pictures. Make sure to turn flash off.
  3. Use of a tripod is essential. the long exposure time will require the camera to be completely still for up to a minute. Don't have a tripod? Try to steady your camera as much as possible such as lean against a car or car window etc. Still, you need to then go buy a tripod. You can get a very decent one for chump change at a Walmart.
  4. If you have any kind of photo editing software, use it to bump up the exposure, shadows, and contrast to really pull the true picture out. I use the latest version of Adobe Lightroom on all my photos. 
  5. And finally, don't get frustrated. Practice makes perfect. Play around and have fun!


Do you have wicked words of wisdom? Then please leave a comment.