How to Photograph Pumpkins

Halloween Crafts, Photography

When it comes to photographing pumpkins anyone can benefit from photography tips that can make your seasonal photos look more professional.

I thought to share my tips with you here so you too can create lovely, original photos of your own pumpkin creations of the lavish seasonal displays by others.

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How to Photograph Pumpkins

1. Tell a Story. Creating a series of photos from pumpkin patch, to assembling tools, assembling siblings, bloopers and happy accidents as well as of the final products, will make great scrapbooking material and a great souvenir.

Another story you could tell is one of the trick-or-treat experience and take pictures of your own as well as of all your neighbors pumpkins. They all will sure like to see your photo album afterwards. Perhaps you can share your photos online with them (depending on how close you are with your neighbors.)

how to photograph pumpkins :

2. Originality Matters. If you created a highly original pumpkin design, than that should be the feature of your photo. If   you instead are not such a ‘whizidiwow’ carver, you can make up for this by taking a more original picture of your pumpkin. Combining your pumpkin with fall foliage works wonders and is highly recommended. As is a bed of hay and bright red, yellow and white flowers.  These are the perfect complementary colors for your pumpkin.


3. Get into it. Close ups are definitely called for, and what you will want to do is create just a hint of a background, a hint of the shape of the pumpkin and the essence of the pumpkin carving.

How to photograph pumpkins - by

To accentuate your carving, place a candle in the pumpkin, turn off outside lamps and photograph the pumpkin in such a way that you can not see the flame directly but just its glow. It makes for nice shots.


Photography Case Study

Compare the first photograph here of the heart-eyed pumpkin with the funky smiling one on the right here. In this case, because there are several candles inside that pumpkin on the right, it tells a story of having been lit all night and it must be late by now… However, aesthetically, I still prefer the first shot as it’s a cleaner, better shot.


4. Tune in on Twilight. Avoid having to use your camera’s flash. It makes ghosts out of your pumpkins. Many pumpkins can be very nicely photographed with daylight, when they are not lit themselves. Personally , I find that early dusk offers the best photographic opportunities. Morning mists can also be interesting.

If you want to take night shots of your lit pumpkins, bring a little  tripod along. There is not substitute for the stillness that this little device offers. Sure, some of the best cameras of today are really able to offer you a great shot without flash nor tripod, but for most of us and most of our cameras the tripod will be a must. The tripod also allows you to zoom in better and blur the background a lot, while your pumpkin stays in focus.

If your camera offers the option, use the film/setting for low light, and as I said, turn off your flash. If you can control your shutter speed, ensure it will be open longer so that the film/camera capture all of the light. Old fashioned non-digital cameras would use: f/15.

5. Go for Abundance. The more shots, the better. Particularly when you have a digital camera (who doesn’t?!)  Be sure to load your battery the night before Halloween and empty your memory sticks so that you are ready for Halloween. Be sure to check your neighbors. Don’t just photograph your own!

(Note: the West Vancouver pumpkin carver who carved this slogan barracking for his favorite team had already carved several hundred pumpkins as a fundraiser by the time he did this one. I became how to photograph pumpkins - Go Canucks Go!more creative as time went on.

This sure is a unique carving. He makes all his pumpkins within days prior to Halloween. It’s quite the carving marathon… Pictures of his work make great gifts….)

6. Hot out of the Oven. Make sure you make some pictures of your own carving creations right after they are finished. This way the pumpkin is fresh and will look its best. Photograph your own pumpkin from all angles and simply pick the best shots. They might not be what you expected.

7. Extend Photo Life. This year’s photos make great illustrations for next year’s Halloween party invitation or goodie bag decorations, scrapbooking backgrounds, etc, etc.  Be creative in your use of your photos and you will find that blowing them up of making them minute in size offers new and creative ways of using your photos.

8. Patchwork. I find that pumpkins in pumpkin patches almost always look great. Be sure to include a handful of pumpkin patch photos in your array.  As in these shots you will want to show the relationship of the pumpkin with its surroundings, go for contextual shots.

And that’s how to photograph pumpkins.


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