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The Spook-iest Photoshoot Ideas

Photography

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By: Brianna Zantman

Spooky season is in full swing which makes my heart truly happy. I love all things Halloween so I decided to try out some spooky photo ideas that have been brewing in my head. 

The first idea I wanted to try was the ghost photoshoot that has been trending on TikTok where you put a sheet over your head and prance about. I also wanted to try it’s compliment idea of the pumpkin-on-your-head.

Though, the photoshoot that really took the cake pumpkin pie ended up being the photoshoot that was least expected. 

My boyfriend and I jumped into the car and headed to Julian, CA to explore. We decided to dress up in all black and real spooky for the fun of it! We were planning on taking some eerie photos, but we were not expecting the photo results we got.

A Grave-tastic Discovery 

One of my favorite places to visit in Julian is the Pioneer Cemetery. This cemetery has a lot of history and is filled with character as it was built in 1870 during the Gold Rush.

One of the reasons why I love coming here is that it has an incredibly peaceful energy — despite the somber history. Additionally, you don’t hear any of the noise from the street and it has amazing sweeping views.

We started taking a few photos here and there, but then really started to feel in the ghostly mood when we found the perfect Mortica and Gomez inspired bench. That’s when our casual stroll took a turn — we set up my tripod and started shooting some more. 

Here are some of my favorites. 

We used my boyfriend’s Sony a65 with a 11-16mm lens set up on my ZOMEi Z818 tripod. We quickly would hide the wireless shutter release remote in between shots. 

Editing in black and white reminded me of the original 1964 Adam’s Family TV series.

Scholastic but Make it Spooky

Here are some headshots that I took on my Nikon D810 with my 17-55mm lens and I’m obsessed with how they came out. 

I edited all of the images in Adobe Lightroom and used one of my favorite black and moody presets as a base. Additionally, I added more warmth to get the colors I wanted.

I highly recommend shooting in Julian as it is one of the only spots in San Diego county that gives you the fall colors you crave. We visited in early October and the leaves were in their early phases of changing over.

In late October I believe the colors will be more rich straight out of the camera — but I have no complaints on how these turned out. 

Becoming The Pumpkin King

The next photo idea involved more preparation. I first found the biggest pumpkin I could find at the supermarket. It needed to be big enough to go over someone’s head. 

I found a Pumpkin Master’s design that had a scary face and started carving away. I absolutely LOVE pumpkin carving, so this was all a part of the artistic and creative fun for me!

I grabbed my camera, put the pumpkin in a bag and headed out for downtown.

I found an eerie-light staircase near the waterfront in downtown San Diego and I knew I found the most sinister setting. 

These images came out great! I shot them on my Nikon D810 — the perfect companion for anything in low lighting. This camera still surprises me on how well it does with dim light. These images were taken at 10:30pm in the evening, so it was very dark outside which helped us get in the creepy mood. 


I did not edit these images too heavily, most of what you see was straight out of the camera. I adjusted the highlights, blacks and added a little bit of contrast. I also clone stamped the green “Exit” sign that was hanging in the background. 

I attempted the ghost photoshoot the same evening as the pumpkin, but nothing was turning out how I hoped. I started to feel discouraged, but it’s a friendly reminder that not all of your photo ideas come out on the first try, sometimes it takes a few shots before getting it just right… so stay tuned to see if the ghost makes their ghastly return. 

Don’t forget — sometimes it’s the shoots you least expect that turn out totally killer!

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