pumpkins and gourds

Halloween Photo Shoots: A Return To Childhood Fun

Text and Photography by Chuck Place

I’m a big fan of Halloween and I love photography. That’s the beauty of October. I get to combine two of my great passions.

Santa Ynez Valley Halloween scarecrows

Santa Ynez Valley Halloween scarecrows

As the days get shorter and the nights get cooler, harvest season in my area kicks in. Grapes are harvested in the vineyards, the leaves on the vines begin to change color and pumpkin patches pop up here and there. In the nearby Santa Ynez Valley, scarecrows appear in the small towns of the Valley. The Santa Ynez Valley Scarecrow Festival runs the entire month of October and gives me a great excuse to visit the Valley with my camera.

I tend to skip people in costumes, concentrating on pumpkins, in the field, in a truck or carved, and scarecrows, wherever I find them.

Halloween scarecrow in pumpkin patch

Halloween scarecrow in pumpkin patch with photographic post-production

Don’t get me wrong. I try to add a little creativity to my shoots on occasion. Maybe I’ll light some jack-o-lanterns for an evening shoot or add drama in post-production to a scarecrow in the middle of a field of pumpkins. It isn’t all point and shoot. I’m a photographer, after all, and have to play with some of my images, but I have just as much fun wandering through a pumpkin patch creating still-life images of colorful pumpkins and gourds.

Halloween jack-o-lantern

Halloween jack-o-lantern lit at night with photo props

Pumpkins and scarecrows—it’s as if I can return to my childhood Trick or Treat days, only now I search for photographic treats.

Halloween scarecrow

Halloween scarecrow with a little photographic post-production

This is the most creative of the season’s holidays and I immerse myself in that joy of abandon. Even if you have photographed these subjects before, it’s always fun to get out there and celebrate the icons of Halloween. If you want more of a challenge, light your subjects and photograph them at the witching hour of dusk. No matter how you go about it, if you aren’t having fun, you are going about your Halloween photo shoot the wrong way.

Halloween pumpkins in an old farm truck

Halloween pumpkins in an old farm truck

If you have some Halloween shots to share, send us a link and share the fun. Happy Halloween.

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