Tip 1: Whether you create it in the studio or find it outdoors, areas of high contrast are great for creating drama in an image. Some photographers hate photographing in harsh sunlight, but it can actually create a really beautifully dramatic image because you have these areas of bright highlights mixed in with dark shadows. If you’re playing around with your own lighting, using flash or another light source to create sharp shadows and bright highlights can give your photo that little extra moodiness for a dark, Halloween vibe.
Tip 2: Make sure you are exposing for highlights. No matter what camera you are working with or what format you a photographing in, it is always easier to bring out detail in a shadow versus a highlight. So make sure the brightest area of your scene is properly exposed. For example, if you are photographing something with candle flames (popular around Halloween!), if you don’t expose for the candle flame, it will come out overexposed and pure white in your final image. Exposing for highlights can also create some awesome silhouetting of your subjects while capturing that gorgeous sunset or night sky in the background. This technique will be sure to give you a dramatically detailed image in low light.
Tip 3: Add in additional lighting. Sometimes, you need some artificial lighting to bring out some of the detail in the shadows. This could mean a flash, video light or another light source. The key is to keep the artificial lighting “soft” and not super direct. If you’re an amateur and you’re just looking to get a great photo of your kids sitting next to their glowing pumpkins on your iPhone, having a partner or friend hold a second iPhone with the flashlight feature turned on can provide a much more pleasing look to your final image versus the in-camera flash provided on your phone. Looking for other sources of light can come in handy too. That street light in your neighborhood or parked car lights can also create different effects for a darker, more moody image.