Photos of the Week

Eye-Catching Portraits and Photos of the Week for Oct. 30

October 30, 2023

By Hillary Grigonis

The Halloween season typically means one of two things: the terror of horror movies and haunted houses, or the whimsical feel of costumes and entirely too much sugar. But turning the emotion of Halloween into a physical image is often a major challenge. This week, we feature five photographs that capture the essence of the season, from the whimsical to the terrifying. Find Halloween inspiration from work by Nicole Forbes, Cassandra Oldenburg, Scott Stockton, Michael Betzner, and Meg Loeks.

Nicole Forbes, Nicole Forbes Photography

© Nicole Forbes

The patterned sheets and orange VW bring out the whimsical, fun side of Halloween in this shot by Nicole Forbes (@NicoleForbesPhotography). The photographer credits her friend Lindsay Burgess with coming up with the idea for the shoot. The theme, she explained, was a 70s, groovy Halloween. She captured the shot with the Canon R and the Canon 28-70mm f2 lens.

“I would say there were more laughs than challenges,” she said of the shoot. “All of our models being under the sheets without vision made for a good laugh but not many challenges. Once we got them in position, they were good.” 

Cassandra Oldenburg, Narrowleaf Love & Adventure Photography

© Cassandra Oldenburg

This photograph by Cassandra Oldenburg of Narrowleaf Love and Adventure Photography combines two trends — the jack-o-lantern head and ghost sheet. But, Oldenburg combines it in a way that creates a sweet moment between the couple, with just enough of a spooky vibe. The photographer explained that it was the couple’s idea to finish their engagement shoot this way, but she added some lanterns and planned to shoot during sunset and blue hour to complete the Halloween vibe. She captured the image with the Canon R6 and EF 35mm f1.4L II USM lens.

“One of the challenges with capturing this kind of Halloween-themed image was trying to portray the couple’s emotions and connection to each other while their faces are covered with a pumpkin and ghost sheet,” Oldenburg explained. “The way I tried to counter this issue was to make sure the couple was always connected physically. With the lanterns in their hands, I felt the image shows a bit of wonder, adventure, or even the couple’s curiosity to what’s just off frame that they are trying to light with the lanterns to see more clearly.”

Scott Stockton, Scott Stockton Photography

© Scott Stockton

Jack-o-lantern heads often feel more whimsical than frightening, but this image by Scott Stockton (@Scottstocktonphotography) carries the eerie feeling of being watched. Stockton explained that the image was captured during a Halloween-themed wedding and the couple has an affinity for scary movies. After taking a shot of the couple with their pumpkins and smoke grenades, the photographer decided to add some spice by putting the best man in the infamous Michael Myers mask. He captured the shot using the Sony a9 and the Sony 50mm f1.2 GM lens, with orange and white ring pull smoke bombs from Enola Gaye.

“The biggest challenge we faced with this shot was the wind,” Stockton said. “When using smoke bombs you have to be careful which way you have your subjects positioned or the smoke can be blown straight into their faces which makes for an uncomfortable situation. I used the pumpkins to hide their faces which helped with these shots.”

Michael Betzner, MichaelBetznerPhotography

© Michael Betzner

The spider webs and extra hands in this image by Michael Betzner (@MichaelBetzner_Photography) create a visual representation of the feeling of being trapped. Betzner explained that keeping the webs in place was the most challenging part of this shot. He said that the webs kept getting into her mouth and messing up her hair, so arranging the subject and webs perfectly took some time and troubleshooting. He captured the image with the Nikon Z7ii and a 35mm f1.4 lens.

“What inspired me to take this photograph was the intricacy of spider webs and how interesting they photograph,” Betzner said. “I love using textures and interactive props, so the webs were perfect!” 

Meg Loeks, Meg Loeks Photography

© Meg Loeks

Much of photographer Meg Loeks’ work (@meg_nlo) is centered on color schemes. When she spotted a photo by friend and fellow artist Shasha Chukure with pumpkins shot from above, she was inspired to create her own image focused on jadeite color pumpkins. The monochromatic green color scheme and soft side light draw attention to the subject’s eyes and face while offering a unique take on the season.

“I had already painted many of the pumpkins a green color for a different portrait,” Loeks explained. “The biggest challenge was filling my frame and keeping the composition balanced.” She captured the shot with the Canon R5 and Sigma 35mm f1.4 Art lens.

Dig into our Photo of the Day archives for even more timeless photoseye-catching wedding photos and portraits. Submit your wedding, editorial, documentary and other interesting imagery to:

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