Tips for photographing pumpkin carving (and other fun events)
October 29, 2012
I'm still working on how best to document yearly events like pumpkin carving through photography. I like to make sure I capture the entirety of the event, taking pictures throughout. I tend to take less artsy photos of the details and focus more on my kids, and I think that's ok.
Here are some photos I took of our adventure pumpkin carving (mostly pumpkin painting, since I have a toddler and carving is too much work) and some tips for photographing your own similar events:
Don't forget to photography the journey! Here my daughter is pulling our pumpkins to a neighbor's house so we can prepare to carve. Capturing her excitement for the event made for a great photograph.
Try different angles. Photographing head-on allowed me to get this cute smile on camera, but sneaking behind her allowed me to get a photo of her painting skills.
Find your best lighting. After we painted our pumpkins, I wanted a work-in-progress photo (they had to dry before I peeled off the stickers beneath the painting, revealing the design). The first photo I took revealed that the sun was shining on the back of my pumpkin, which cast an ugly shadow and gave me poor lighting on the front of the pumpkin. Turning my pumpkins to around to face the sun cleared things up a bit and resulted in a much better photo.
Photographing your lit-up pumpkins. Low-lighting can be hard to photograph. These photos turn out best when you don't have the flash on and allow the light from the pumpkin to be your only lighting in the photo.
To achieve this with an SLR camera, turn your ISO way down (I set mine to 6400, as low as it goes). Put your camera on Aperture Priority (Av on the dial) and set it as low as it goes, I suggest around F3.2 or F4.0, although mine was all the way down to F2.8. The lower your aperture, the more light you let into your camera. Your shutter speed will automatically adjust on this setting (shutter speed = how long it takes for your camera to “click” and take the picture). If your photo is too bright and the pumpkins don't look lit up enough, you can close down your aperture (meaning pick a bigger number) or lower your ISO setting. If you don't wait until it's pitch black outside, you'll probably get a better photo. It was really dark when I took mine.
And, of course, be sure you snap a picture of the finished product!
If you're looking for more tips on photography and using your SLR camera, check out Mom and Pop photo school - they'll send beginner tutorials and lessons right to your inbox so you can learn on your time.
*Disclosure: Affiliate links used