I am a toy photographer and action figure photography is one of my favourite. Its Halloween season and I could see all the toy store filled with spooky decorative items so I decided to do a photoshoot with Halloween as theme… Here is what I did and who is coming down to haunt you this year. This year’s theme is Headless Horseman, who is a long overdue Halloween photoshoot candidate. The theme of headless horseman hatched last year but due to some limitating factors, I decided to do a Grim Reaper scene instead.

Halloween 2023 Photoshoot - Figures

This year I finally got all my ducks in a row and the shoot is on. The action figure I used is a Marvel Legends Spider-Man Noir from the Marvel’s Lizard wave and horse by CollectA. As these two cannot be used out of the box as is… I used only the body of Marvel Legends Spider-Man Noir and cropped the head pegs off in Photoshop. For the horse, this horse originally was tan horse so I painted it black to fit this scene and the black makes this even more mean.

Halloween 2023 Photoshoot - Props

Some props I used to bring up the medieval look, they include a sword from Mattel Justice League Multiverse Wonder Woman figure. The pumpkin is a custom made piece that I been using for few years now… The tree that is in the frame is also a custom piece that used in few photoshoot in the past and it is one of favourite diorama piece too.

Halloween 2023 Photoshoot - Lighting

For lighting, I used three light source… One overhead room light (6w LED) bouncing off the ceiling, one Ulanzi Cube with few filter to get the desired color and my trusty old light bar… actually wanted two but misplaced the other so I improvised with just one. These two lights are just enough to put that creepy vibe and also giving some details to otherwise all black scene.

Halloween 2023 Photoshoot - Setup

I tried few placement and finalised this scene by placing them side by side. Ulanzi cube was used for horseman’s rim light and light bar for the other side illumination, as it is placed so far they they just cast a bit of highlights only. As the background is coming from my MacBook Air, I need to have deflectors (with boxes and home stuffs) to cut reflection of the light on the background itself.

Halloween 2023 Photoshoot - Raw

I used my Nikon D3100 DSLR with 55-200mm telephoto lens to shoot this beautiful shot. As my setup is relatively small so I used this telephoto lens to get some background compression and some cool bokeh. And the plan worked I got some background compression and also got the creepiness without overdoing. The photo right from the camera itself is great and I wanted give some Photoshop love…

As the photo came quite well, I did very minimal postproduction work in Photoshop. The bigger chunk of work is the fog and some color correction on the light casting. I also cropped out the head peg and added some reddish piece to make that black space a bit interesting. Overall I had fun, and this also challenged my skills in the lighting space. What do you think? Did I do well? Or you have some tips to make this even more realistic. For now go out and have fun playing “Trick or Treat” and have a wonderful Halloween. Till next time… Boo!

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