Spooky or Silly? A Halloween-Themed Photoshoot

Spooky or Silly A Halloween-Themed Photoshoot

Halloween is one of the most photo-worthy holidays out there! Costumes, a spooky atmosphere, fall colors, and more let your imagination run wild. Halloween can be fun for adults and kids alike. It is the perfect reason to do a family photoshoot and you can even involve your pets! 

Halloween offers a wide range of colors and gives you the option of coming up with something different than what we’re used to seeing the rest of the year. Make a broomstick to fly on, a witch‘s hat, a jack-o‘-lantern, or recreate a monster that’s straight out of your favorite scary movie.

A Halloween-Themed Photoshoot
Our photoshoot with a young witch led us to this beautiful place and the model did a great job with her costume Nikon D750, Nikkor 105 mm Ai-S f/2.5, 1/160s, f/2.8 (approx.), ISO 200, focal length 105mm

Costumes are a key part of the shoot. You can use store-bought costumes or make your own. They can be as simple as a white sheet with holes over your head or they can be more complicated. Costumes can also be sewn or put together with things you find lying around the house. Don’t be afraid to experiment! 

A Halloween-Themed Photoshoot
A very simple costume, but everyone liked it and it made the photoshoot quite entertaining  Nikon D750, Nikon 50mm f/1.4 AF-S NIKKOR G, 1/80s, f/2.5, ISO 640, focal length 50mm

Halloween is a spooky holiday and offers many possibilities for photography. A mysterious atmosphere, scary elements, and even fake blood can give your photography that spooky feel. Other parts of Halloween can be less scary and more silly, more suitable for a family photoshoot. 

Horror-themed: If you want your photos to be darker or even scary, try setting out for the forest at dusk and use different props such as skulls or fake blood. Or, try a costume inspired by a scary movie or monster from a book or scary story. You can even try taking pictures of something paranormal. There are great monsters in the Witcher series. You don’t need to play the video game or watch the show, just search the internet for a great source of inspiration for some frightening costumes.

A Halloween-Themed Photoshoot
One of my first Halloween experiments was a DIY headband and some face paint. From that moment on, every year gets more and more fun for me.   Nikon D750, Nikon 50mm f/1.4 AF-S NIKKOR G, 1/200s, f/3.5, ISO 160, focal length 50mm

Fun for the whole family. Halloween isn‘t only about goosebumps and hair-raising terror. You can do something sweet and innocent. Halloween is also a time for witches and wizards, so you can even turn to the world of Harry Potter for inspiration. 

Take pictures of the entire family near a haunted house as ghosts in white. Or have the youngest member of the family dress up as an adorable pumpkin. Supplement your costumes with different props such as a cauldron filled with dry ice to create a magical potion effect. 

A Halloween-Themed Photoshoot
Be sure to include a jack-o‘-lantern. It will make your shoot a success and carving it is fun for the entire family  Nikon D750, Nikkor 105mm Ai-S f/2.5, 1/320s, f/2.8 (approx.), ISO 200, focal length 105mm

TIP: Just as an ordinary bed sheet works for us humans it also can make a great costume for pets. If you have a dog or cat that is cooperative, you can try putting a piece of white fabric on them. Be careful not to torture them, of course. Cut holes for their eyes and snout and be sure to give them plenty of treats. Friends and family are sure to enjoy photos of your little furry ghosts. 

Where to get ideas

Movies, television series, books, and games are some obvious choices for where to find inspiration for your Halloween photoshoot: 

Movies with scary or dark themes are numerous and make a great source of inspiration for your shoot. You can use different Halloween classics and try imitating them. Focus on its use of light and color and try to carry it over to your photography. If that doesn’t work, take a picture of a specific scene of the movie that you want to portray and use it as a template. 

Television series are equally inspiring. Unlike movies, however, the plot is developed over a longer period of time. This works great for photo stories. Try writing a script and developing your own story photoshoots.  

A Halloween-Themed Photoshoot
A story photoshoot from a few years back. Two sisters in the woods.  Nikon D750, Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art, 1/500s, f/2.5, ISO 200, focal length 35mm

Books are inspiring in their own unique way. They are descriptive and not visual like movies or television series so there’s more room for individual interpretation. Some like this method more, while others prefer imitating a more visual style.   

Games are a perfect combination of all three categories above and are often very rich in story and visual elements. However, not everyone plays games, so it depends on what inspires you. 

A Halloween-Themed Photoshoot
A photograph with a story, atmosphere, and costumes. All inspired by the great game, The Last of Us.  Nikon D750, Nikon 50mm f/1.4 AF-S NIKKOR G, 1/100 s, f/1.8, ISO 400, focal length 50mm

Halloween-themed ideas are all around you. Just let the spooky atmosphere take over and dive right in! 

Also read:

Get inspired! Halloween portrait photography and edits  

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AuthorZdenka Povolen

I haven’t been a photographer for long, but I certainly love taking photos. I like creating atmosphere in my photographs and adding emotion. I think it’s important that a photo has substance. I predominantly photograph people, often in costumes, sometimes nudes, and photographic storytelling series. I value effective communication and a pleasant atmosphere in my photoshoot. I like to use practical effects such as smoke, fire, sparks, light, or movement of cloth and fabric. I know that I still have a lot to learn, but that will come with 20 years of experience under my belt. I believe in lifelong self-improvement.

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