Are you looking for ideas for creative lighting for Halloween-themed photoshoots? Let me take you on a look behind-the-scenes for some of the lighting setups used in the studio on a few sessions. Getting creative doesn’t mean it always has to be created with studio flashes, either.

Find creative alternatives

The below image was captured using only an old-fashioned (recreation) Edison bulb in a brass light cage. The next image we used a crystal ball lit by a torch and colored gels, it gave a prism effect and lit the models face, a little eerie, and very cool. No other lighting was used in either shot.

Create mood and atmosphere

The next image was shot using black muslin background, one studio strobe (camera right) up quite high and pointed down at the model’s torso. A smoke machine was blown in from behind the light stand, creating a soft ethereal quality. The strobe had a 36-inch octabox and was turned down quite low. The model was posed over a small ottoman and hooded character knelt on the floor. The image was slightly underexposed, dropping the black into nothing.

Look for different angles

In the next image, the model was facing directly into a large octabox (on a studio strobe), also turned right down. The shot was taken from just to the side of the octabox, crouching down and shooting up slightly.

Try flat light

Shot against a black muslin backdrop with two studio flashes, once again with the 36-inch octabox up high and shooting slightly down on the models. An umbrella was used on the next light (front of shot) which mainly lit the dress, there was also a third light with a beauty dish, just to camera left, lighting the face and crown.

All lights are quite a distance from the model and the power-up quite high. The distance softened the light and created a flat light look with minimal shadows.

Mix different types of lighting

This next one was a little different as I had two different colored light sources. Camera left had blue continuous light with a shoot-through umbrella, lending a blue dull quality to my model. The camera right was more yellow as if lit by sunset light, which gave my ‘Alice’ a glowing look. Shot against white muslin backdrop and both lights pointed slightly down at the model.

Go basic for impact

For the next image, I used a single octabox placed quite high and shooting down on the model. A reflector was placed on camera left near ground level, bouncing light back up at the model’s face, leaving deep shadows under the model and behind. Shot against canvas painted with chalkboard paint.

Think outside the box

Why not try something a little old school? We placed a desk lamp behind a vintage venetian blind and lit the subject through that. This really gave a Film Noir vibe.

Just about anything you can think of can is used as a light source — you just need to get creative. Once you’ve learned HOW to use studio lights, then you can really play around and get inventive. Try barn doors, grid boxes, gels and even colored filters.

So perhaps on your next shoot, whether that be a Halloween themed studio session or a creative portrait session, try some of these ideas for creative lighting. Start with one light source, whether a speedlight, continuous or strobe … and then add more light if you have them.