Two Bands, a Makeshift Studio, and Murder Weapons Make For a Great Halloween Portfolio

I'm not particularly crazy about horror films and scaring the living daylights out of myself, but there is something so intriguing and inspirational in creating images of a darker nature. I've always said that I like to make beautiful pictures and that is still very true. I strive to make great pictures every time I pick up the camera. Sometimes even the darkest subjects can make beautiful pictures when interpreted in a certain way.

This is the third year in a row that Larissa and I have created "Halloween" photos. The previous two years involved Larissa and I murdering each other in various ways. This year, the opportunity presented itself to photograph The Pale Barn Ghosts and The Hello Strangers (Larissa's band) in preparation for their Halloween show.

We knew that we wanted to shoot tight portraits of each band member against a black background. I had been thinking about this year's Halloween shot for some time and already had the lighting planned in my head . . . dark shadows, high contrast and mysterious light. We set up our studio in our neighbor's barn, which worked perfectly. I set up in the afternoon and had everything ready for the evening of the shoot. We were able to shoot 8 portraits between 6:30pm and 10:30pm. Pretty damn efficient!

The ninth portrait had to be shot the following week because Brechyn from The Hello Strangers was not able to make it to the previous shoot. We decided to try something a little different with this one by utilizing the spooky closet in my attic. I lit the scene almost identically to the other portraits to keep the mood consistent.

I wanted each band member to really bring his or her ideas to each portrait, and everyone came through. The goal was to show a little bit of each band member's personality while emphasizing our darkest human fears.

Here are a few images from this year's Halloween shoot along with a short video I created to help promote the October 31st show. To see the other 5 images from this shoot, go to the Horror portfolio on our website. To see more of the video shorts, add us as a friend on Facebook.

All photos and video © Ryan Smith Photography

What are you going to be for Halloween?