• Foto Ruta’s guide to taking spook-tacular Halloween photos

    Foto Ruta’s guide to taking spook-tacular Halloween photos

    Halloween is by default Foto Ruta’s most favorite unofficial holiday of the year! Despite being less celebrated in Buenos Aires than in other parts of the world, there’s always fun to be had. What could be better than a bunch of hooligans running around in costumes, taking on spooky alter egos, perfectly poised for a portrait? We love Halloween! Here are a few things you should keep in mind if you bring out your camera to document the festivities.

    Fill Your Frame (make your images dramatic!)

    Halloween is a time of drama and you can add to this in your images by getting in nice and close and filling the frame with your subjects. Whether it’s people or objects – getting as close as possible with increase the impact of your subject’s frightening face.

    Turn off your flippin’ flash! Yes, turn it OFF.

    Shooting in low-light can be tricky but if there is one time of year to practice its halloween. Using just the small amount of available light will create scarier and spookier photos and avoid the paparazzi look of a skeleton caught in the headlights!

    Image taken at 3200ISO, hand-held

    • Increase your ISO – the larger the ISO number the more sensitive your image sensor is to light and you can shoot in less light and not get blacked out images.
    • Slow down shutter speed – choosing a longer shutter speed lets more light into your camera.Find a stable surface to balance your camera on when you do this to avoid camera blur, or lean your camera arm up against a wall to stabalize yourself. Forget about the trip-pod…who parties with one of those anyway?!!
    • Use a BIG Aperture – this widens the hole in your lens and lets more available light in. It will also lessen the depth of field in your shots. If you have more than one lens then use the one with the biggest aperature. One of my favs for low-light is a 50mm prime lens. I can open it up to 1.4f and almost create light that isn’t even there.

    Use the ‘Rule of Thirds’ for your composition

    Take the extra time to turn on the grid function on your camera or compose your shot using the rule of thirds. At Foto Ruta we like to break rules but at least use this as a guide before you throw it out the window! You’re likely to get some amazing shots.

    Foto Ruta rule of thirds


    Stop observing & get involved with your subjects!

    If you want to be shy and inhibited for the rest of the year that’s your own business, but take my word for it when I say that on halloween its time to come out of your shell and be a bit pushy & provocative with your camera! Don’t be the wallflower with a big lens…dive into the crowd, get close to people’s faces, do a shot of whisky and put on a mask if you must! Now is the time to ask people to pose for you and demand it with a little confidence…just like Frankenstein would!

    Experiment with white-balance!

    While its generally a good rule of thumb to keep your camera on auto white balance (Auto WB) if you’re not in a consistently lit place, but don’t be afraid to experiment with different settings and see what effects you can achieve. Documenting halloween isn’t exactly an objective assignment and the more you play, the more interesting your shots are likely to become. Try the incandescent setting to bring out cooler colors and blues and keep your white balance on an ambient setting to really get the reds & oranges to pop!.

    Image shot on WB Incandescent mode & retouched in Adobe Lightroom



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