Tuesday, October 30, 2012

8 Tips for Shooting Creepy Photos (Part 2)

Grab yourself some candy, your camera and get out there. Here's 8 more tips for shooting creepy photos to help you get spooky with your camera.

1.  Look for spiderwebs
You can't have Halloween without spiders so why not photograph some spiderwebs? The best ones can be found first thing in the morning - I'm not a morning person so I had to make do with what I could find. The original photo was actually one spiderweb that wasn't in the best location and part of it was gone already. I decided to take it a step further: making a copy of the image, then flipping one and merging the two together in Photoshop. It made for an extra creepy photo!

2.  Shoot with props
Decorations aren't just for partying, they can be great creepy subjects! Grab a few of your favorite things and find locations like tall grass or fallen leaves, then shoot from all different angles. Shooting in wide open apertures will give them an even creepier vibe. If you happen to see elements of the prop that are distracting (like metal screws or fabrication lines) you can clone those out to make it look a little more realistic in editing.

3.  Play on phobias
There's a reason why certain things make great Halloween decorations - snakes, spiders, clowns and other phobias are great ideas for creepy photos. A little editing helped make this rubber snake coiled up on dead leaves even more dastardly.

4.  Hit up old shops, barns, etc.
When shooting these photos I walked around my dad's shop area - which has all kinds of great textures. Urban decay like abandoned buildings make great locations too.

5.  Jagged lines
Lines are such strong elements of design that even their shape effects a photo. What do jagged lines convey feelings of? The creeps. Heebie jeebies. Or something's just not right. So look for jagged lines (or make your own) and try shooting them.

6.  Crop in all the wrong places
When shooting people it's a no-no to cut off someone's hand or head, etc. Why? Because it gives the viewer this feeling of being disconnected or well, just disturbed. But that's all out the window for creepy photos so go crop crazy.

7.  Shoot weird looking mushrooms
Or other odd plants. It's best to shoot these really up close in macro - if they look really odd and you can't tell what it is even better.

8.  Edit in B&W
Of course this doesn't work for everything - the picture of Bucky (the skeleton) on the red trailer just had to be in color. Even so, B&W is classic for that spooky vibe and definitely rocks certain shots.

Have fun and spooky shooting!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

8 Tips for Shooting Creepy Photos (Part 1)

One day Pottery Barn was selling a big, expensive Halloween themed canvas print. It was creepy and foggy and pretty much awesome. Of course I wanted it, but it was really expensive and I decided to try and capture my own creepy photos. So we hit up a couple of old graveyards to shoot details.

At first it felt really odd to be walking around in a graveyard taking pictures. Yes, there were plenty of zombie jokes. But then it ended up being such a cool place to shoot! I loved reading the names and dates of really old graves and the tombstones are just beautiful. With so much texture and detail to capture - old graveyards are a great place to really get creative.

Here are some tips for shooting your own creepy photos:

1.  Shoot on a cloudy day
Nothing says creepy like a gray day, sunshine just wouldn't be the same. Besides, overcast light is a gorgeous light to shoot in. It really brings out the color and details!

2.  Try shooting in macro
Most kit lenses have a "macro" setting that lets you get real close to your subject. A true macro lens will let you get even closer. Macro is great for capturing details like the moss on tombstones.

3.  Shoot wide open
Really shallow depth of field brings out even more creepiness in the photo. Focus on your subject, choose an aperture like f/2.8 or bigger and let the surroundings blur. Shoot through leaves and focus on your subject in the distance to "frame" the subject. The leaves will blur and have a slight transparent look.

4.  Shoot with odd and unusual angles
To add an extra element of eerie, odd angles are a great choice. Just tilting the camera a little will change the overall feel of the image.

5.  Look for dried up plants, sticks and weeds
These types of subjects make creepy, unusual photos. Trees that have lost their leaves are really great subjects too.

6.  Fill the frame
Choose interesting subjects - like these fallen leaves on the ground.

7.  Try different actions in Photoshop
Totally Rad's actions Lux (soft) + Bitchin B&W adds to the eerie, creepy effect of this pair of tombstones.

8.  Have fun and be respectful
Remember, graveyards are a place of peace and rest. Try not to step on graves (if you can) and don't be destructive. The older the graveyards you can visit, the more interesting things you'll find to shoot.