How To Take The Spookiest Halloween Photos


A portrait of an angry witch with a skull and a hook near the forest. Magic, dark force, spell.

An angry witch with a skull and a hook by Prometeus, 123RF.


It’s officially trick-or-treat season – Halloween is coming! The weather’s getting chillier and there’s no better time of the year to go all out and snap some spooky photos.


Making an image look haunting is truly an art form. If you want to take really impressive shots that are beyond pumpkin patches and witches, read on.


We’ve tried and tested eight tips and tricks that are sure to help you get the spookiest Halloween shots.


Create a ‘ghost’ with long exposure


horror scene of a creepy woman

Horror scene of a creepy woman by lario76, 123RF


How spooky would it be to capture a ghost on camera? To pull this off, you’ll have to use a shutter speed of at least 30 seconds, have your subject (in this case, the ghost) stay in place for about 5 seconds, then move out of the frame until the camera is done taking the photo.


What you’ll end up with is an image with the object (the ghost) that is opaque, giving it the illusion that a ghostly being wandered up to your camera while you were taking a photo of the scenery.


This works especially best in low light. If there’s too much light, try using an ND filter to reduce the amount of light entering the lens.


You might just end up on the newsfeed of an amateur ghostbuster thinking it’s a real ghost caught on camera!


The double exposure ghost


blurry image and double exposure ghost woman hand in haunted hotel with dark filter, halloween concept

Ghost hand in haunted hotel by parkpoomy, 123RF


A double exposure photo is an image with two overlapping photos. The great thing about this technique is that many advanced digital cameras have a double-exposure feature hidden in the menu. If your camera has it, then let’s give it a go!


To create a double exposure photo, you should have an initial photo ready to be used. Then, turn on the double-exposure mode and select the first image. The camera would automatically overlap that first image, so you can carefully compose your new frame to complete the photo.


If your camera does not have a double exposure feature, you can create a double exposure photo with photo editing softwares.


Simply remove the background of the first image, then lay it on top of your chosen background image. After that, search for a blend function that will adjust the image’s opacity to give it that haunted aesthetic.


The motion blur ghost



Creative textured black and white image in motion blur of phantom walking among trees in the fog.

Phantom walking among trees in the fog by hoglund, 123RF


This technique is yet another fun way to create a ‘ghost’ or add feelings of distress to your photo. And it’s really easy to execute too!


To add a motion blur effect, hold your camera still and set a slow shutter speed. Ask your subject to make any movements such as shaking their head left and right, or simply flailing their arms around.


The slower the shutter speed, the blurrier the effect on the image. For a more dramatic effect, experiment with panning and zooming when taking the shot.


Sheer curtains for ethereal self-portraits


closeup portrait of a ghost girl

Closeup portrait of a ghost by jetrel, 123RF


You’ll need three things: natural light, sheer white curtains, and a model.

Have a model draped behind some curtains and make sure that it is against a brightly lit background so it can create a silhouette. The brighter the background and closer the model is to the curtains, the more obvious the silhouette will show.


Sometimes, just a shadow behind a softly lit curtain is all you need to take an ethereal, ghastly portrait. Experiment with it and see how the photos turn out.


It’s almost a reminder of the groggy mornings when you’re unsure if someone was indeed outside your curtain windows.


Take photos in eerie looking places


evil ghost haunting abandoned horror house

Evil ghost haunting abandoned horror house by nicoletaionescu, 123RF


For legal reasons, we do not recommend trespassing and going into abandoned homes for a photoshoot. The location of your photoshoot only needs to look creepy, not actually be creepy.


You don’t need to travel far to find the perfect location for your photoshoot. Empty parks, benches, and around hospital grounds are all great locations for your Halloween photos.


For great lighting that suits the Halloween vibes, try taking photos when it’s cloudy or gloomy in the morning.


Dim and muted photos


Scary scarecrow in a hat on a cornfield in cloudy weather. Halloween concept

Scary scarecrow in a hat by smit, 123RF


There’s something inherently creepier about photos that seem to be more muted and cold. When looking for Halloween-inspired photos, the results are often monochromatic and desaturated.


There are a few ways that’ll help you achieve this muted look. For the shoot, coordinate your outfit to match nicely with the background. Wear darker colors like black or maroon for a dark, dramatic flair - these two colors are also the easiest to go with when using a simple forest background.


Depending on the lighting in which you snapped the photos, there might be a tint that throws off the eerie aesthetic you’re looking for. In your favorite photo editing app, play around with the color wheel until you get the desired outcome.


And while you’re at it, consider adding special effects like dust, scratches, and a vignette filter to enhance the photo.


We all need a little help from props


The dark queen of elves walks in a misty forest. A creative image, an unusual black dress. Artistic toning.

Dark queen of elves walks in a misty forest by kharchenko, 123RF


We can always count on props to add interest to an image. The obvious choice when it comes to Halloween style props is none other than pumpkins, witch hats, and vampire fangs. This year, consider using smoke bombs to add mystery or bokeh filters to play with the style of your images.


For interesting textures in your photos, consider using cling film to create a hazy look or spiderwebs to lightly cover your camera lenses for a more gritty look.


Show us your best Halloween photos


Now that you’ve figured out the ways to really take great photos this Halloween, what are you waiting for? Get out there and start creating!


We’re proud to call ourselves a community for creatives and artists here at 123RF. That being said, we’re always thrilled to see your work and can’t wait to be tagged in all the spooky photos this season.


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