Autumn Wonderland

So it's no secret Halloween is one of my favourite times of the year - and 2020 was a bit of a blowout! What a bummer to have both the most beautiful full moon, Halloween on a Saturday, and yet the world is too weird-a-place to celebrate together. HOWEVER, needs must, and so instead I got busy setting up this little Autumn themed pumpkin set instead.

I had this gorgeous backdrop to play with from Clot Studio in a forest green that blends to creamy white - lots of beautiful texture to play with, so I thought the pumpkin-y tones against some of my favourite gold Hysteria Machine pieces would look beautiful.

I set up this little pumpkin tableau, embellishing areas with tiny little pine cones, moss, a couple of pomegranates, and some little wooden ladybirds if you can spot them...

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I put up the new Clot backdrop in my kitchen because it was shot just before I moved house, so space to shoot was a bit of a nightmare... To light, I used one Badger Unleashed at around 45 degrees to my table, with a medium octabox as my key light, and then a second at the right hand side of the shot with an orange gel and a  white umbrella modifier to give a warm 'firey' tone to one side.

As these were self portraits, I used my camera with a plug in self-timer that takes an image at an interval you set - I go for around 3/4s. I also shoot tethered, which if you're not familiar with, I would definitely recommend looking into. Essentially, you plug you camera directly into your laptop / computer, and then you can see the images coming in as you shoot on screen. I find this particularly useful for two reasons:

1. The computer screen is colour calibrated, meaning what I'm seeing is more accurately what I'm getting as opposed to the small LCD screen on the back of the camera

2. For self portraits, seeing whether you're in frame, if you're happy with lighting etc. is invaluable - so definitely worth that little bit more setup!

Another plus point is being able to work with as few wires as possible - especially when trying to take self portraits with costumes, the fewer trip hazards, the better!

Styling-wise I opted for my little 'Wednesday Adams' style black dress (because, Halloween), and then had a couple of different set up options inspired by fairytales and Autumn.

I took inspiration from one of my childhood favourites - Alice in Wonderland to get a few shots with this as a prop, them moving on to a couple with my Hysteria Machine heart shaped blind mask. More often than not I try to shoot a couple of different setups (a) in case I like one more than the other (b) to incorporate a little variety even in shots from the same setup.

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Ultimately, I was really pleased with how everything came together. The backdrop texture came out amazingly on camera, and I was really happy with how the interesting colour gradient looks on the images - especially with the warm sidelight. Are the shots overly spooky? No. But then there's something I like about Halloween and Autumn not having to be super obvious. Shots like this are so much fun, and makes me feel like a big kid again. What are your favourite seasons and festivals? As always, be sure to share your photos with me on socials, I love to see them! 'Til next time!

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