Making those family memories.

Just a quick addendum to my recent blog post………….

We had a fabulous Hallowe’en. I hope you did too?

We played games. The kids bobbed for apples. We had a chocolate fondue with strawberries and the biggest marshmallows I’ve ever seen!

I got my picture.

My mission was to make a Hallowe’en portrait……..a family memory to frame and put on the wall.

So the girls had been applying makeup and face paint for a while before I warmed up the lights and the smoke machine. I knew I wasn’t going to have much time…..they were both way too excited and also in the middle of a sugar fuelled frenzy, so I was going to have to work fast.

The room where I shoot at home is small.

It has white walls………yeah!

So how was I going to create some atmosphere and make an image with a spooky feel? One word answer……….GRIDS!!!! Yep I put the grid on my Octabox to try and control the spill and direction of my light. By angling the light across the girls in the crosslight/Rembrandt position I was ensuring that not too much of it was hitting the white wall behind them, rendering it grey in colour.

Here’s the setup.

In the diagram the octabox to camera left has the grid fitted. Unfortunately there was no facility for this in the creator program.

I added in the strip box boomed out behind the girls, angled down on them to backlight the smoke from my little fog machine.

I took a dozen shots (working quickly) and decided on my favourite.

Here’s the SOOC shot……….

They look pretty spooky don’t they?

My personal feeling is that smoky images tend to lend to high contrast. So I opted to go black and white for this one. Edited in Photoshop. I added contrast using the Nik Pro Contrast filter in Colour Efex Pro and further contrast using my favourite Topaz Clarity plugin.

I’m going to write about both of those great plugins in detail in a future post, but for now here’s my finished picture……….

It’s visible in full size on my Flickr, 500px etc. Please do connect with me there (links at the top of the page.)

Hope you enjoyed the post.

Stay safe.


I’m a fine art portrait photographer based in Tamworth, Staffordshire. Specialising in creative and styled portraiture, fitness photography, headshots, family portraits and personal branding for you, for actors, for athletes and for business professionals alike.

Buy me a coffee at my ko-fi page.

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