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Vintage Pumpkin Patch Shoot Guide

Photography

the blog:

By: Brianna Zantman

It’s fall — my favorite season! It’s also 80 degrees in San Diego California, but that isn’t stopping me from participating in my favorite seasonal activities — like cozying up with a pumpkin spiced coffee drink, wearing spooky attire and searching for the best pumpkin patches in town. 

As an avid pumpkin carver, I love going to pumpkin patches to fulfill all my nostalgic fall dreams, but the current state of the pandemic had my boyfriend and I questioning which pumpkin patch was going to feel safe for our comfortability level. Especially, since we were looking for an uncrowded spot to easily set up my tripod to take self portraits.

The Perfect Patch

We ended up finding the perfect patch — Fran’s Original Farm Stand. We couldn’t get enough of how cute and quaint this location was. Parking was incredibly easy and not only were you able to pick your own pumpkins, but they also sold an array of fresh fruits, vegetables and other home grown produce, made to order sandwiches, baked goods like pies, cookies and other sweets, handmade pizza, coffee and tea drinks, local raw honey and fresh squeezed juices! They also had flowers and pre-picked pumpkins available.

Fran’s Original Farm Stand has been family owned and operated since 1979 and is located at 1980 Summit Dr, Escondido, CA 92027.

The employees were incredibly friendly and everyone was wearing masks properly. They gave us clippers to pick our own pumpkins and offered us a wheelbarrow as well. They made us feel incredibly warm and welcomed! 

Setting Up The Shot

When we first walked out onto the dirt of the patch we weren’t initially sure how to set up the composition — as this pumpkin patch is not as kitsch as some can be. There were no hay bales to sit on, no easy to pick up pumpkins to pose with (as they were all still attached to the vine — what a concept) and there were large gaps where the pumpkins didn’t naturally grow.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a fun photo-op, but this location had a calmer and more genuine energy to it. 

We started easy on the main path — but it wasn’t exactly the look we were going for. The patch was so grand, I felt I wasn’t capturing it’s full fall beauty. We were also unsatisfied with how many pumpkins you could see in the shot.

So we decided to shake things up a bit — we collapsed the tripod legs and put it low into the patch, amongst the pumpkins, to get an interesting foreground. The sun was setting behind the cornstalks which created picturesque even and shaded lighting.

We located an empty spot where we could easily pose without stepping on vines — and it couldn’t have been more perfect!

Some of our favorite poses we tried, the laughing lean (try not to fall, like I actually did) piggyback rides (even though it was risking a split jump suit), noses touching and a goofy hug from behind (try kicking your leg up to give this pose more dimension.)

Camera Settings & Editing

I used my Nikon D810 with a 17-55mm f/2.8 zoom lens. My tripod is ZOMEi Z818. 

I shot at 1/250sec (also shot at 1/100sec after I changed my shooting mode from manual to aperture priority) at f/5, ISO 160, 18mm.

We were feeling the 70’s mood while shooting, so in Adobe Lightroom I edited with vintage aesthetics. I did this by taking my exposure down, increased contrast, took highlights down, and lightened shadows and whites. I personally like making my blacks stark — so I deepened those as well. 

I added a lot of warmth to the photo, increased vibrance and took saturation down. Within the color mixer I took down saturation of mainly the yellows and greens. Within effects I heavily adjusted the grain with only slight adjustments to clarity to get the film effect I was looking for. 

There was a little house in the background of our shot that I easily cloned stamped out in Adobe Photoshop. I personally like using the clone stamp tool in Photoshop compared to the healing brush in Lightroom for these types of edits. 

Exposure times of collage below: top left 1/100sec, bottom left 1/250sec. 

All in all, this shoot couldn’t have been more ideal. We were so happy to support a small business and the vintage fall vibes were exactly what we were looking for.

The pumpkin haul? Two small pumpkins we clipped ourselves which are the perfect decor piece for my tiny porch.

Happy shooting!

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