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Trick or treat?! Luckily, for you this time you’re in for a treat. It’s that time of year again where we can let our dark side out, dress up, and not to mention, eat as much candy as we want. Yes, Halloween is a pretty good holiday.

Whether you’re planning to enjoy the festivities with your little ones or have some commercial projects lined up, Halloween is the perfect time for get extra creative with a terrifying photo shoot. This could be as simple as capturing your children in their spooky outfits or as complex as shooting a horrifying magazine spread. Whatever you’re trying to achieve here at Parrot Print we’ve put together a list of aspects you should think about when creating your scary Halloween canvas prints.

Create Your Idea or Concept
Ideas, concepts, or even plots, the chances are if you’re in the creative field you’ll already have a wide range of ideas whizzing around your brain. To ensure you don’t forget anything, we advise you write everything down. Even if you don’t use it, it’s always good to have it there and you never know this could spark a whole new idea. Your concept or plot all depends on the canvas print you want to create. Your idea could be as simple as creating a scary garden to complement your children’s costumes, or as complicated as creating a murder scene in a haunted house. The ideas are endless.

Equipment, Location and Timing
For the production you can use minimal equipment and props, or you can have a studio filled with lights and gadgets, again it all depends on the canvas you want to create. Many commercial photographers rely on natural light. However, Halloween shoots are mainly done in the dark, so you’ll need to use professional lights or the flash on your camera, but this doesn’t have to be expensive as long as you know how to use your smartphone.

You can use your garage or garden with a couple of simple lights and a cloth or paper backdrop, which are not going to cost you an arm and a leg. If you’re going to step away from garden shots make sure you research the area you want to use as a backdrop for your photos, as some places like local cemeteries require permission or a permit. Timing and positioning are two huge factors and if you choose correctly you can achieve dramatic results. If you don’t have the right equipment to photograph late at night, why not shoot early in the morning or late afternoon, when the ambient light is at its softest? The idea of a planned shoot is to be able to control everything so you achieve exactly what you want.

Be Creative White Balance
If you want to change the look our your photos you should try adjusting the white balance in your settings. If your set is surrounded with pumpkin lanterns then you should start with your white balance at around 2500K, which is ideal for candlelight as it turns your flash and your source of ambient light to a dark orange/red colour. This could is perfect for creating that essential bloody Halloween scene.

Then, up your white balance up to its fullest. This will make your image an eerie blue colour, which will complement your subjects if they’re dressed up as ghosts. If you’re shooting in RAW, you’re able to do adjust your white balance in Photoshop. In fact, if your camera has limited white balance range or you’re using your smartphone, shooting in RAW might be your best option. By trying these different techniques will create completely different looks, so you end up with two different photoshoots.

Ensure Your Subject is Striking
To ensure you get the most out of your children or your models, you have to communicate with them from behind the camera. We suggest creating scary situations for the subjects to think about and then act out. For example they’ve just found a dead body in a haunted house, or they’re a killer werewolf and they’re going to howl at the full moon, or there witches casting spells around a cauldron – there’s plenty of situations to create depending on the photos you wish to capture. The point of this is to ensure you get an image with a strong leading subject, which will make your canvas print appear more striking and eye-catching to your audience.

Fun Fact!
Did you know that ‘trick or treating’ is a custom taken from guising, which children still do in some parts of Scotland. Guising involves dressing in costume and singing a rhyme, performing a card trick, or telling a story in exchange for a sweet.The trick or treating tradition didn’t arrive in America until the 19th century – we didn’t this know either!