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.