Creepy Jester, Halloween

It's Halloween......that time of year when all the spooks and ghouls come out to play.....

For photography it's a great time to brush up on your low light photography skills. Whether that's carved pumpkins and candles to something altogether more sinister...........

The images in this blog were taken a couple of weeks ago, in Broom Hill Park, Strood. Once again my son kindly offered to model. We were originally going to shoot in the woodland late afternoon, but due to his work commitments we had to postpone to early evening, after dark.

With no lighting in the park, a very dark faceless costume and just two small rotor lights this proved to be quite a technical challenge.

Flash too bright

To keep my ISO low to 100, an aperture of 5.6 and a fast shutter speed of 1/200 sec I used my flash. As you can see from this unedited image it was just too bright. The flash had overpowered the subtle lighting created by the rotor lights.

However I could see potential in the image so this is how I went about saving it in post production.

Stage 1 - Desaturate the colour

In Lightroom I desaturated the colour. I prefer the subtle skin tones in the hand which a complete black and white conversion did not give me.

I then darkened the blacks and shadows.

There was still too much leaf foliage in the back ground so I imported the image into Viveza 2 from the DXO Nik Collection and using a couple of selection controls I was able to darken down the background without impacting the dark figure.

Stage 2 - Remove facial features

The next stage was to import into photoshop, Using content aware spot healer, I removed some of the banding on the face. I then darkened it slightly with the dodge tool.

texture layer

The image was still missing something. I decided that it needed a misty atmosphere to set it off better. After a bit of experimenting with different texture shots I came across this one of some old yarn, found laying around on a warehouse floor from a previous shoot this year.

Photoshop Lens Blur Effect

I applied the Lens Blur effect to it and then pasted a copy, as a layer, over my Halloween image in normal mode.

layer blending

I took the opacity down to 23% to get this really cool misty look. I did a little bit of unmasking around the face area.

To finish the image off I imported it back into Lightroom and applied the matt preset filter with a few contrast adjustments.

The end result

This was the end result. Far more spooky in my opinion than the original. It's amazing what a little bit of editing can do when a shot goes wrong.

To get the best benefit from the lighting effects I abandoned the flash gun and used live view to get the exposure I was after.

These following images were all taken with a 50 mm prime lens at ISO 1000, f1.8 and a shutter speed of 1/40 sec. Normally I would say ISO too high, aperture too wide and shutter speed too slow. However it was the best I could achieve without compromising my ISO. With such dark imagery noise could be a real issue. Thankfully I believe I just about got away with it.

The only editing done to these images, other than a little contrast tweaking and desaturation was adding in the mist effect as described above.

Hope these don't spook you out too much..........

Creepy Jester

Creepy Jester 2

Grim Reaper taking a nap

Bored Reaper

H A P P Y. H A L L O W E E N

For more information on my workshops and 1 to 1 tuition please visit my website at https://www.louiseehubbardphotography.com

Email contact@louiseehubbardphotography.com

Telephone 07493 070207/01634 711275

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