It’s Halloween time and all the hobby store around the city(even the cities of India) is filled with scary costumes and props. Some of them are funny as hell too… This always triggers my inner little boy (yeah I am still scared of horror movies) who wants to go under the bed! But I also like to do something creative not too spooky but carrying that Halloween spirit. My initial thought was to make scene with a Headless Horseman but my plan took a U-turn when the custom made figure dint turn out good. So time for alternate… Pinterest and Instagram came in as a saviour… And after spending some time, finalised the theme as a spooky scene with Grim Reaper walking towards.
This being a night scene, props list don’t need to be exhaustive… But a miniature pumpkin and some creepy tree could pretty well add some spookiness. I picked an artificial grass mat for the floor as this works better than a flat surface. The background is my laptop (13inc MacBook Pro) with a high-res image from www.cntraveler.com, Google helped me find this shot of Hoia-Baciu Forest, Romania!
Now the figure… I am not into creepy stuff and creepiest figure I have in my collection is the set of skeleton, which basically is a wall hanging. So to create this, I decided to go the kit bash way… I actually have a custom made redskull (used in my last year Halloween shoot as well) from the movie “Avengers: Infinity War”, which basically is a Marvel Legends Cloak repainted and textured to look a bit rouge. I removed the head so that that emptiness creates more spookiness! The weapon is the one that came with Death Metal Batman by McFarland, though a 7inch figure that weapon works perfectly on this Marvel Legends figure.
Being a foggy night scene and spooky background coming from a laptop, I went with two bigger light source and a spot light for those pumpkins placed slightly towards the camera. I tried multiple angles and lighting variants and finally satisfied with this setup. The first main light coming in from the left but moved away enough just cast a light highlight. The second main light is place on the right and covered by a envelop to do the same as left light but far lesser effect on the figure.
With the setup in place… I set my trusty old Nikon D3100 DSLR on a tripod and fired a few shot with my 18-55mm kit lens. But the results weren’t good so switched to my Nikor 40mm Micro (Macro Len) and the shots started taking shape. I used a 40mm as the focusing distance is super close (as you can see in the setup above) and got some smooth blurred out background as well. I always use raw format in DSLR so I have more details to play around in post using Photoshop and Lightroom.
This photo session took over 2hrs and I kind of fired around 40 shots, which is very less but this time I was satisfied with results sooner. I was thinking of using some practical effects for the fogginess…. but don’t do it due to time constrain and my confidence on PS. I did very less in Photoshop but the results were mind-blowing! That fog made this shot far more realistic and far more creepy.
Though the plan was for one shot, which is the above one.. I captured some of the details on this setup, which I really appreciate. The spookiness comes from the hidden details but they do deserve some light, so I picked a frame for the cover in 6×4 landscape, focusing only the Grim Reaper figure to appreciate how good he looks in this spooky environment all set to inflict fear in you.
What is Halloween without some bright orange pumpkins… I do have these on the actual hero shot as well but wanted to capture them in a separate shot to appreciate them in detailed. I actually wanted to make a Halloween card using this frame but later dropped the idea as that kind of was spoiling this beautiful shot.
My very first Halloween photoshoot happened for 2017 Halloween with my orange model car (Instagram link), 2018 with redskull figures and couple of skulls (link here), 2019 it was with Captain Marvel and few skulls (Instagram link), 2020 I was stuck indoors so I managed to build a cabin and put Thanos and Gamora as main subject (Instagram link) and for 2021 I did a shoot with red skull in almost same outfit and weapon but in a totally different environment… year after year I am getting better and loving it more and more. Happy Halloween everybody, Have a Spooky One! Ciao.