Photo Tips: Trick Photography

Freak out your folks
with some freaky photos!


Photograph by SF Giants Fan, My Shot

Published October 24, 2014

Looking for more ways to celebrate Halloween in addition to haunted hayrides, bags full of candy, and hot apple cider? Then it's time to dust the cobwebs off your camera and give the photo tips below a try! By playing with the light and the exposure settings on your camera, you can develop some trick photos that will impress your friends and spook your parents. Having trouble photographing your lucky black cat? We've got some tips to help you with that tricky situation too!



Photograph by Falconsoul, My Shot

Ghostly Exposures

Parents don’t believe your room is haunted? Now you can show them photographic evidence! You’ll want your room to have some light, but not be too bright, as you’ll be using a long exposure. Set the camera on a tripod. Start with a shutter speed of around eight seconds. You may need to experiment. Have your friend stand in the scene. As you press the shutter release button, have your friend move around. You can also try having him or her stand in one spot for just a few seconds and then jump out of the scene.

Bonus Tip: To ensure that the rest of your photo stays sharp, use your camera’s self-timer to minimize camera shake. If you want to make yourself a ghost, the self-timer will also give you a few seconds to jump into the scene after you press the shutter.

Painting With Light

Gather your friends and some flashlights to create your very own frightening masterpiece. To start, you’ll need to find a spot that will be as dark as possible once the sun goes down. Set your camera on a tripod. Before the lights go out, decide where you and your friends are going to stand and focus on them with manual focus. You’ll also want to keep the shot composed wide enough so you have plenty of room to paint. Start with an aperture around f/8. If you have a remote shutter release, you can keep the shutter open while you paint. Otherwise, set the camera to a long exposure, such as 30 seconds. Turn on your flashlights, press the shutter, and begin to paint by pointing the flashlights toward the camera and drawing your artwork in the air.

Bonus Tip: Tape some colored tissue paper over your flashlights to add some color to your painting. You can also find inexpensive sample packs of gel filters at camera stores that will give you many colors to choose from.


Photograph by jillianelena, My Shot


Photograph by Fortheloveofadog, My Shot

Photographing Your Black Cat (or Dog)

Photographing dark subjects can be tricky. If you’re taking a close-up portrait of your black cat wearing a black witch’s hat, your camera might have trouble determining the correct exposure, resulting in a washed-out picture. To counteract this, you may need to use your camera’s exposure compensation setting to reduce the exposure by one f-stop. 

Bonus Tip: Unless you’re trying to scare your grandma by sending her a picture of your evil kitty, you might also consider adding a bit of light to bring out some more detail in your cat’s fur and to add a sparkle of light to your cat’s eyes.

Secrets revealed!

Get your best shot with tips from the pros.

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