9 min read

9 Creative Halloween Photoshoot Ideas

9 min read

Last updated:

Quick summary

Autumn’s arrival signals fun Halloween photography. This article presents nine creative ideas, from chilling silhouettes to quirky trends. Elevating your photos’ quality hinges on carefully considering backgrounds and lighting. Halloween photos merge creativity and fun, capturing both spooky and endearing moments. Whether your goal is to evoke cuteness or send shivers down spines, a blend of innovation and fun is essential to success.

Fun Tips and Tricks To Elevate Your Halloween Photography!

Autumn is here, which means Halloween is just around the corner. What better way to celebrate the spooky holiday than with a creative Halloween photoshoot?

Halloween is about so much more than eating candy and putting on a scary costume. It’s a chance to get creative, spend time with friends and family, and have some fun. And we want to help you capture that fun this October.

In this article, we will look at a few fun Halloween photoshoot ideas to get the whole family involved and some essential tips about photographing Halloween.

Why Do a Halloween Photoshoot?

It’s not often that we get to dress up in life! It’s also not very often that we take time to be silly with family and friends, making Halloween a special time of year. You’ve carved the pumpkin, shopped for the candy, and set up the decorations. You probably spent hours getting your Halloween costume ready! Why not take advantage of the effort you put into making some spooky Halloween pictures?

But why settle for your average Halloween photo surrounded by pumpkins? When you can go all out to create eerie and inspiration-filled images.

You may wish to create a new fun family photo or to capture spooky Halloween pictures with friends. Either way, there are loads of ways you can take your Halloween photography to the next level with these crazy and creative ideas.

spooky image of a ghost in a dark forest.
Phantom in a Dark Forrest.

9 Halloween Photoshoot Ideas

Halloween is about so much more than silly props and giant pumpkins. These ideas are here to elevate your Halloween photography to the next level of scariness (or cuteness!).

1. Get Creative with Silhouettes

There’s nothing like a bit of mystery in Halloween photos! And what better way to emulate that than with chilling silhouette pictures? Shoot through a see-through piece of material with the light behind you to create a phantom-like Halloween photo.

Alternatively, you can have fun making some shadows on the wall. You might even want to get some puppets involved, like a cut-out haunted pumpkin. For this idea, you will need a harsh light like a flashlight or studio light. Grab some scissors and get creative!

Silhouette and shadow idea for scary photos.
Scary silhouette.

2. Organise a Spooky Witch Photo Shoot

Make use of those beautiful autumn colours and live your best witch life. A witch costume is pretty simple to pull off. All you need is a long black witchy outfit and a pointed witch hat. Perhaps add some dark make-up and a couple of props. And voila, you are ready to cast your first spell in no time. This is an excellent idea if you have a group of friends to shoot with. If you are planning to take candles into the forest, make sure they are LED ones to prevent accidents while shooting.

Witch Halloween photo shoot.
Witch in a forest.

3. Take Eerie Self-Portraits at Home

You may not even need to leave the house or invest in decorations to get creative Halloween pictures. There are several camera techniques you can use at home with yourself and a blank wall. For instance, try using a slow shutter speed to give your image a ghostly feel. Or bring in some basic props like a candle or jack o lantern. You could even play around and create silhouettes. There are loads of ways to get Halloween-style photos with little more than you and your camera.

If you’re looking to practice some creative self-portrait photos, we have all the tips! Take a look at our article on photographing self-portraits. We also have an epic self-portrait course designed to help you capture your best (or scariest) side. Take a look here.

Ghostly self-portrait.

4. A Halloween Photoshoot with a Baby & a Pumpkin

The great thing about Halloween is that it’s a holiday that the whole family can enjoy. And if you have a baby, there are loads of cute Halloween photography ideas that you can get creative with. One of the most iconic and cute ideas is to put your baby in a pumpkin a la Anne Getty style. For this, you will need a rather large pumpkin and of course, a baby!

If that sounds too messy, let your kids play with a pumpkin in cool surroundings. The orange colour of the pumpkin will help your photos pop! You could take these photos either inside or outside in a Halloween setting. Either way, you will no doubt treasure these Halloween baby photos for years to come!

photoshoot of a small kid with jack o lantern pumpkins.
Little kid with Halloween pumpkin – More fun than candy!

5. Take Part in the Hipster Ghost Trend

This year, a viral trend that overtook social media was a simple but effective idea of becoming a classic sheet ghost. People throw a white sheet over their heads. Then, they place themselves in unique and sometimes quirky situations. It’s one of the simplest of costumes, which can be either cute or creepy. It all depends on how you want your Halloween photos to look. We love the idea of incorporating props like pumpkins into these costumes, which are easy for the whole family.

Halloween photo of a group of ghosts.
The kind of shoot the whole family can get involved in – by Cottonbro.

6. Get Your Pets Involved For Your Halloween Photoshoot

If you don’t have a baby or kids to photograph, but you still want to take some cute Halloween pictures. Consider getting your furry friends involved in a themed photo. Dress your pets in something cute or creepy, and play around with some different Halloween photoshoot ideas.

Dogs dressed for Halloween as ghosts with jack o lantern.
Pets wearing a costume.

7. Head on a Platter

It’s a classic but impressive trick that is bound to impress everyone this Halloween! This photo takes a little bit of organisation, but the results are worth the effort. Find a cardboard box and cut a neck-shaped section out of one side. Do the same with a paper plate. Place a piece of material like a tablecloth around the hole. Set it with some LED candles and props. Then, get someone to stick their head in the neck hole while the bottom of the box covers their body. These pictures will definitely impress.

Head on a platter.

8. Set Up a Spooky Still Life Photo

If you’re looking to photograph the Halloween spirit, you may not even need people in your shots. Put together some exciting props, dull the light, carve a pumpkin, and let your jack-o-lanterns glow! There are loads of ideas within this shot that you can play around with. For instance, you may wish to pick a specific theme for your Halloween still life photo.

Skeleton and jack o lanterns placed creatively in a room.
A still-life photo can still make a creepy impression – by Cottonbro.

9. Document Your Halloween Day

One of the simplest photography ideas is to capture your Halloween celebrations as they are. Grab your camera and start shooting as people set up the Halloween decorations or get into their costumes. This is a great idea if you have kids who may not sit still long enough for a feature Halloween photography session. Capturing the delight on their faces while trick or treating will be photos you treasure.

children wearing skeleton printed costumes for Halloween.
Documenting family Halloween day – by Charles Parker.

Tips for Shooting Halloween Photography

There are many ways you can make your Halloween photos really stand out. Here are a few of our favorite tips for unique images.

Think About Your Background For Your Halloween Photoshoot

There is no point in having next-level, super scary costumes if the background of your photos doesn’t match! Try to organise your shoot to be in a spooky-looking location. For example, in front of a run-down house or an overgrown backyard. Even a dimly lit room will do. Try to think about Halloween decorations that might match your costume. There are so many ideas besides the generic pumpkins and spiders.

Grungy setting for background photography.
A scary setting can make all the difference.

Think About Lighting & Weather

As you probably know, lighting makes a huge difference to the mood of your images. If you’re trying to get a scary shot, you won’t want to be shooting in the bright and warm colours of the golden hour. Here are a few lighting ideas to help create a Halloween atmosphere.

  • Find a dimly lit room with specs of light coming through for a ghostly feel.
  • Consider shooting in the blue hour for cooler tones.
  • Shining light from below creates harsh, scary shadows.
  • Low key lighting creates a dramatic contrast between the subject and the background. A simple way to do this is to use natural light like that coming from a window.

Don’t be afraid of getting creative with the light for your Halloween shots.

If your ideas are outside, the weather should also come into consideration. A grey and stormy day would be perfect for some darker Halloween shots. A little bit of wind would also be helpful to get some movement in the dress and hair.

Invest in Some Creative Lighting

Think about the scene you are trying to create with your Halloween pictures and invest in the lighting to match it.

For example, if you are going for a zombie post-apocalypse look, you might want dimly lit, grey-coloured lighting to create a ‘sick’ portrait. These lightweight lights can change colour to suit all your photography ideas. This makes them a great investment, no matter what you plan on capturing. You may even want to try sticking them inside a carved pumpkin to make jack-o-lanterns extra fun.

If however, you are going for something with a bit more impact, you might consider using a flash. A flash can create good harsh lighting with lots of contrast.

women setting up a Jack o lantern.
Jack o lantern light for interesting photos – by Cottonbro.

Take Inspiration From Your Favourite Scary Movie For Your Halloween Photoshoot

If you are stuck on creative ideas for Halloween, take a look at some of your favourite Halloween films for ideas. Then, make some intense cinematic-style images. Not only is this a great way to find inspiration for your costume. But it’s a great idea for a Halloween photo too! Look at the scenery, costume, and lighting and try to recreate the same ambiance.

man wearing space costume.
Movies can inspire awesome ideas for photoshoots – by Koolshooter.

Use a Slow Shutter Speed

No matter where you have chosen to shoot or what your subject matter is. The use of motion blur is a great trick to add a ghostly effect to your images. This is easily achieved by using a slower shutter speed and having your subject move within the frame. Ideally, you should have your camera on a tripod so that it will be stable. This way, the rest of the image remains sharp and in focus while your subject flows through the photo like a phantom.

Blurred photos with slow shutter speed work well for halloween.
Motion blur creates a cool effect.

Tips For Editing Your Halloween Photos

Use Special Halloween Presets

We have launched a new collection of Halloween presets just in time for the special October holiday! These Halloween presets are designed to give your pictures an instantly spooky look. With the click of a button!

These presets automatically adjust things like lighting, colours, and saturation. So you don’t have to worry about getting those perfect cool tones.

Get X-Ray Vision

Give your images a scary X-ray look. You don’t need decorations for this one! Just start shooting and add the edits in post-production. You simply have to invert your photo in Photoshop and then change it to black and white. For a more detailed explanation, check out this video.

How to edit an x-ray photox-ray style-image-for-halloween

Desaturate Your Photos

You may notice that most Halloween pictures have a grey, desaturated look. This can be easily achieved by taking down the saturation of your image in Lightroom (or your chosen editing software). You may even want to use the selective colour tool in your editing software. This way, you can edit your photo so that some colours stand out more than others.

Ghost photo with low saturation.
Desaturate your photos for a chilling look.

Add a Vignette to Your Halloween Pictures

To create an old-themed photo, a simple tip is to add a vignette to your image. This is an excellent tool for dark or moody scenes where you might be going for a bit of a Victorian Halloween look.

Ways to make your halloween photos extra spooky.
Vignette combined with low saturation – by Rennee Asmussun.

Play Around with Photoshop

Let your imagination run wild and create a fantasy-filled photo with Photoshop. Consider adding details like dust, scratches, or grain. These will give your Halloween photos an older feel. Creating a faux double exposure can give your image a ghostly feel. Or try playing around with textures and layers.

Grey and dreary out of this world.
Photoshop can make a world of difference to your photos.

Conclusion – A Halloween Photoshoot is all about the Fun!

Halloween photography is about having fun and getting creative. There are so many awesome ideas to create unique Halloween photos. Whether you’re after a cute photo appropriate for a baby or you are looking to really up the scare factor. We hope these Halloween photoshoot ideas have sparked an idea for you.

Do you have any other ideas for awesome Halloween photos? Please let us know in the comments!

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Ainsley DS is a photographer and writer based in between Auckland, NZ and Paris France. She specializes in travel, portrait and documentary photography and has a passion for all creative pursuits. With an addiction to travel, she has lived on three continents and photographed over 40 countries along the way. You can purchase travel prints directly from her website or follow along on the journey!
Ainsley DS is a photographer and writer based in between Auckland, NZ and Paris France. She specializes in travel, portrait and documentary photography and has a passion for all creative pursuits. With an addiction to travel, she has lived on three continents and photographed over 40 countries along the way. You can purchase travel prints directly from her website or follow along on the journey!

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