From pumpkins to poltergeist, Halloween is packed with photo opportunities that you just won’t find at any other time of the year. With all the fancy-dress and creepy costumes around, portrait photography is of course the perfect subject for Halloween. But how can you transform your Halloween snaps into spooky scenes? Well, we asked our Olympus portrait ambassador and Halloween super fan, Gavin Hoey for some top tips.

1. Fog Effects

My number one Halloween trick is smoke. Small smoke machines are inexpensive but the effect they can create is priceless. But to get the very best fog effect you’ll need two important things. First, the background of your shot needs to be dark, you won’t see white smoke against a light background! Second, you need to light the smoke, preferably from behind.

2. Go Wide, Go Close

Wide angle lenses aren’t just for landscape photographers, they work well for portrait photographers too. The usual rule is, the wider the lens the further away from your subject you need to be… That is until we get to Halloween! If I want a photo with crazy impact, I reach for my M.Zuiko 8mm fisheye lens and get very VERY close to my subject!

3. Fake Blood

It goes without saying that fake blood is a staple for many Halloween looks but before you pour it all over the place, read the bottle. Most fake blood will stain clothes and some will stain your skin. So always test fake blood on your arm before putting it on your face, otherwise you might have some explaining to do every time you meet someone during the first week of November!

4. Unbalanced White Balance

Most of the year I go to great pains to keep my colours accurate but Halloween is different. Try changing your white balance to Incandescent for a cold blue feel. If you’re after a little more control dial in a custom white balance of 4000k or even try adding a little green. With Olympus cameras you can add green using either the G setting in the super control panel or via Custom Menu G – WB.

5. Hide Behind a Mask

Not everyone likes having their photo taken but on Halloween you have a rare opportunity to be the subject of a photo without being seen! The shops are packed with masks, some good, some not so great but I prefer something a little less traditional such as a decommissioned (and safe) army surplus gas mask!

See more from Gavin Hoey at: