What’s the best way to photograph my kid’s Jack ‘O Lanterns at night?



Light paint your pumpkins!

Kyla from the Eugene Shutterbug loves taking photos of pumpkins every Halloween. Here are her instructions on how to creatively capture your jack-o-lantern carvings this year.

What you’ll need: A camera, tripod, and a hand-held LED light.

Before we dive in: 1) Wear dark clothes, so you don’t show up in the photo. 2) Make sure any light source inside the pumpkin is pushed back inside so it doesn’t give a light glare. 3) Give the pumpkin space so you can move around it without tripping. 4) If you’re shooting a group of pumpkins, make sure you set them up so they’re not blocking each other.

Camera Set-Up: Place your camera on a tripod, point at your pumpkin. Turn your camera mode dial to “Shutter priority” aka “S’ or ‘Tv’ mode. To find the ‘right’ settings, you will have to play around with your dials a bit, but a good place to start is to set your ISO between 250-500, Aperture dialed around F/5.6 – F/7.1 and your Shutter speed set to somewhere between 2-10 seconds. Be sure to purchase a remote or use the self-timer function on your camera on-hand to remove the possibility of a shaky image. You can also use the following apps as a remote:

  • Nikon’s Camera Remote app: SnapBridge,
  • Canon’s Camera Remote app: CanonConnect,
  • Sony’s Camera Remote app: ImagingEdge Mobile

Take the Photo Fire your camera and wave your handheld light quickly around your pumpkin for the whole duration of your shutter speed (2-10 seconds).If you move the light in front of your pumpkin, keep it low so you don’t block your carving with the light painting. Play around with how you’re moving the light. Experiment as many times as you can! The first shot might not be ‘the one’. If your light painting looks too dark or if there are not enough light streaks, increase your shutter time and try again.


Have more questions? Schedule a 1-on-1 in-person photo class at the Shutterbug (1 hr for $45) online or in-store! Interested in renting from The Shutterbug, Beaverton? Give us a call for availability at (503) 639-5088.