10 Wicked Portraits and Halloween Shooting Tips

Fall is the landscape photographer’s dream season but Halloween is when portrait photographers get all of the fun! Check out the images below, plus gain some shooting tips from working photographers. Let the shapes and shadows of the night inspire you and have a safe and happy Halloween from everyone at BorrowLenses!

TheDoorKeeper ©Niki Aguirre

“The Door Keeper” © Niki Aguirre – Taken with a Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 24mm f/1.4L

Niki’s Tip: Shoot multiple exposures right after sunset during blue hour to combine a moody atmosphere and a sharp subject. Use exposure blending in post processing for a great effect.

©Allie Miller

“Little Scarecrow” © Allie Miller – Taken with a Nikon D7100, Nikon 50mm f/1.8G

Allie’s Tip: Use a 5-in-1 light modifier to create light for all tones. It will ensure that white balance is on cue while you’re developing that fall feeling surrounding the child/subject.

Red bow_1039 7 FINAL 1500

Día De Muertos © Julia Kuzmenko McKim – Taken with a Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L in her living room with 2 lights: a beauty dish for key and a metal reflector for rim/edge lighting. Learn more about the making of this image here.

Julia’s Tip: Plan your shoots in advance and brief your team at least a few days prior to the shoot. Often makeup artists and hairstylists are willing to purchase additional tools, products, makeup colors, or even hair extensions to get better creative results. Give them some extra time to do their shopping – the entire team will benefit from it!

© Renee Robyn

© Renee Robyn – Taken with a Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 135mm f/2L. Learn more about how this image was created here.

Renee’s Tip: Learning to see color accurately is very difficult and time consuming. Pick up books on color theory, attend a painting class, or hang out with painters who understand it well. Your art will appreciate it in the future.

Alex’s Tip: Use slow shutter speeds to gather moody ambient light and then compensate for motion blur with flash.

Emerald’s Tip: Have a kid who hates having their photo taken? Put them in a villain costume and take advantage of the abundant attitude. My kid actually enjoys her sessions for once when sneers, snarls, and wiggling are welcome!


Scurvy Lad © Jamie MacDonald – Taken with an Olympus PEN E-PM1, Olympus M.Zuiko ED 45mm f/1.8

Jamie’s Tip: When shooting your kids on Halloween, stand back a bit and let them be themselves. If you get in there and try to control the moment they will go out of character and it shows in the finished photos.

Creepy Meg ©Charles Prince

Creepy Meg © Charles Prince – Taken with a Canon 20D, Canon 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 and Paul C Buff strobes.

Charles’ Tip: Never underestimate the effects of good makeup.

Long’s Tip: You usually don’t want to carry too much stuff with you when you are out on Halloween. Stay light and portable. I like to stick to one body and one lens only. I needed more flashes and wanted a different lens for this shot but I just made it work. Nothing special but we all had fun and I made good friends! Make what you have work for you.


© Sean Duggan – Taken with a Canon 5D, Canon 24-105mm f/4L

Sean’s Tip: Experiment with slow shutter speeds on Halloween night. This image was made with a shutter speed of 1/3rd of a second. The bright orange lights in the background, combined with the spooky costumes and moving the camera during the slow exposure, adds a surreal and nightmarish quality to the scene.

Share your favorite Halloween shot in the comments below!


Scott Roeder is a wedding photographer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is also an avid diver. His specialties include photo booths, videography, and action shooting. Check out his work on his website.

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BorrowLenses is an online camera gear rental service that started in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2007. We offer a wide selection of camera gear ranging from camera bodies, lenses, lighting and accessories. We make it easy to rent gear by shipping your order straight to you.