Jenna Caplette migrated from California to Montana in the early 1970s, first living on the Crow Indian reservation, then moving to Bozeman where she owned a downtown retail anchor for eighteen years. These days she owns Bozeman BodyTalk & Energetic Healthcare, hosts a monthly movie night, teaches and writes about many topics.
Halloween invites you to have fun with your images. Take close ups of costumes, focusing on details. Try lighting an image from the bottom up, using the highly advanced technology of a flashlight for a ghosty-style image. Document details of the best bowl of treats you saw, the jack-o-lantern you carved, and the best decorated house or event. If your camera has a wide-angle lens, use it to purposely distort the best of the masks and jack-o-lanterns you see.
Point and shoot cameras come equipped with “modes” to make it simpler to take certain kinds of shots. If you haven’t played with the modes on yours, now is the time. Get out your owner’s manual or do an online search for your camera model and read about its features. Not all manufacturer’s use the same names for modes but here’s a few ideas for the kinds of modes you might find that will be helpful in capturing Halloween images.
For photographs taken after dark, experiment with the Night Portrait Mode. Some cameras have a Low Light Mode to keep your image cleaner when you shoot without a flash. In Silhouette, subjects are silhouetted against bright backgrounds. Party mode will retain the feel of the light in the room so preserve candle light as candle light instead of turning it all white (You must hold still when using this mode, and it’s better if the subjects aren't moving, either.).
For other special effects, decide if you want your in-camera Red-Eye Fix on or off because red eyes may be the perfect accessory for some costumes. Fish-eye Mode distorts the image and could be great fun to experiment with.
As you set up your shot, don’t forget to check your background to make sure it will not detract from your image. The classic is the lovely shot of a kid with a streetlight sticking out the top of his or her head. Memorable, but probably not in the way you hoped. Bright lights in the background, particularly when your subject is standing in subdued light or shade, can also be distracting.
Don’t worry about snowy-blowy weather. Adverse weather conditions offer an opportunity to take unusual photographs -- autumn leaves swirl at your subject’s feet, their hair blows, or snow frosts their eye lashes. These details don’t detract from your photo – they enhance it. So when Montana's annual Halloween snow storm blows in, head out and make some images anyway.
~ This piece was written with the expert assistance of the staff at F-11 Photographic Supplies.