Raid your cup­boards to pro­duce a spine-chill­ing still life photo.

Practical Photography (UK) - - Creative Guide -

WHILE CREEPY ed­i­to­rial shoots or low-light ar­chi­tec­ture can be a lot of fun, you can also cre­ate a fan­tas­ti­cally chill­ing Hal­loween shot within your very own home. Still life pho­tog­ra­phy is par­tic­u­larly well suited to this time of year, as there’s so much amaz­ing iconog­ra­phy ripe for ex­plo­ration.

Source your props

It of­ten feels as if the mo­ment the clock strikes mid­night on the 1st Oc­to­ber, countless spine-tin­gling items mag­i­cally ap­pear in the aisles of super­mar­kets across the coun­try. This gives you plenty of op­tions for your spooky still life. How­ever, you’ll want to pick a sin­gle ob­ject to be the star of the show. We’ve cho­sen a ouija board, as this has al­lowed us to se­lect a clear fo­cal point – the ‘Yes’ in­di­cated by the planchette. We’ve then ar­ranged a small se­lec­tion of suit­able items around the fo­cal point, mak­ing sure not to over­load the com­po­si­tion.

Con­sider your light­ing

If you want to evoke emo­tion in your still life, take a care­ful look at your light­ing setup. We rec­om­mend that you take a sub­tle ap­proach and use low-key light­ing to hint at your sub­jects, rather than fully ex­pose them – re­mem­ber that many Hal­loween prod­ucts are of­ten cheaply made and may have vis­i­ble im­per­fec­tions when shot. We’d rec­om­mend us­ing a one-light setup, po­si­tioned to the side of your scene. Or, if you’re us­ing can­dles, you could make these your sole light source. Shoot­ing in RAW means you’ll be able to ad­just your white bal­ance dur­ing the edit­ing process.

If you’re us­ing low-key light­ing, you’ll likely find that you need to use a tri­pod. This is be­cause you’ll find it dif­fi­cult to at­tain the min­i­mum shut­ter speed re­quired for hand­hold­ing your cam­era with­out hav­ing to sac­ri­fice image qual­ity with an as­tro­nom­i­cal ISO. A wide aper­ture will work per­fectly for this tech­nique, as you’ll be able to fo­cus the view­ers’ at­ten­tion on the main sub­ject and gen­tly blur the sur­round­ing ob­jects.


Kit choice Sigma 105mm f/2.8 Macro EX DG OS £359 While you don’t nec­es­sar­ily need a macro lens for this tech­nique, this 105mm lens is per­fect for still life set­ups. Plus, if you want to get a lit­tle closer, you can. sigma-imag­in­

Above Use a wide aper­ture and a low ISO to cre­ate a shal­low depth-of-field and great image qual­ity.

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