Purple Prose + photography tips

Tip # 85: Shooting Your Pumpkin

Ever since my kids went back to school last month, they have reminded me, frequently, that it’s almost Halloween. So I figured I’d give you some pointers for shooting pictures of your Jack ‘O Lanterns to get you into the spirit (if you aren’t already).

Dragging the shutter is a cool technique that professional photographers use when shooting pictures in a room. To keep the room from looking like a cave, a flash is used, but the warm ambient lighting in the room, such as from a lamp, remains. It’s also a great way to take photos of your pumpkin.

In the above photo, the speed was set at 15 seconds to capture the glowing flame. However, you see little else of the scene.

In the second picture, I used a flash, and the camera speed was set at 1/60 second (which means I didn’t have to use a tripod). You can see the scene, but the glow of the candle is lost.

In the final picture, the camera speed was set at 15 seconds (like in the first shot) and I used the flash (the camera adjusted the intensity). This time, you can see the setting and the pumpkin, but the glowing effect of the candle is still there. A much better picture than the other two.

Try it out for yourself, and experiment with all kinds of possibilities. The key is to set the speed according to the ambient light and let the flash add whatever else is needed. Obviously, this tip is for SLR cameras (you’ll know what it is if you have one) and point & shoot cameras that let you adjust the shutter speed.


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Tip # 85: Shooting Your Pumpkin + photography tips