For photographers wanting to break out of their creative box, this is a great time of year. Halloween is a great opportunity to get the creative engine running and break all the rules.

When shooting zombies, I abandon just about all the rules. The biggest thing I do different is white balance. Its important that the background and foreground (Zombie Horde) are completely separated so I can post process creatively. So I custom white balance with a green gel on my flash.

Some “zombies” don’t cover their entire face with paint, just blood. Flashing the subject with green makes it much easier to separate the orange/brown skin tones from the red fake blood. Zombies get a light green hue and everything around them is a red-ish/purple.

My Zombie shooting includes other atypical photography techniques. For example, in some cases I manual focus to provide a bit of actual lens blur.

And I over-expose to flush out detail; in post processing over-exposed images, shadows and highlights become flat and creepy. I really crank up my ISO for deliberate noise.

Finally, I use a very slow shutter. The flash will help “freeze” the close up zombie subject. Then the slow shutter speed pulls in background lighting, introduces blur while panning the camera, and helps provide an off-kilter feeling.

Oh, and when shooting zombies, the “Rule of Thirds” is out the window along most typical portrait rules. 🙂

Finally, to punch the Zombie look home, I have a group of Lightroom presets. The group attended the 5th annual Zombie Walk along Westheimer this weekend. I promised folks who attended the event that I would provide them my Zombie Lightroom presets. These are free to download from this blog. See below for some examples of how I use them.