Eerie Portrait Photography: Environment Set Up and Lighting

Skulls, flowers, elaborate makeup, tombstones, and candles. These are just a few of the things you will see in Jay P Morgan’s setup for his Day of the Dead shoot. With smoke machines and a beautifully decorated model, Morgan will show you how he created his Day of the Dead images by explaining his lighting setup, camera settings, and other details of the shoot:

Though you can learn some important things from Morgan’s discussion of the technical details of the shoot, it’s also important to recognize the other things he talks about, such as his crew. There are four people in his crew other than himself and each one of them plays an important role.

  • Makeup Artist – This person may not be necessary depending on what kind of shoot you’re doing, but if you are doing any kind of fashion shoot, you will definitely want an experienced makeup artist. It took Morgan’s artist┬áthree hours to do the hair and makeup on his model and as you can see, this was extremely important in Morgan’s shoot.
  • Wardrobe/Stylist – Clothes are just as important as makeup in fashion shoots. Not all photographers are going to have a good sense of fashion. In fact, many won’t. And even if they do, they need to be focused on the shooting, not the wardrobe.
  • 1st Assistant – You can have as many assistants as you want, but having at least one is a big help. Having an extra pair of hands to setup, break down, and move lights and props around can save you a lot of time and hassle.
  • Runner – A runner’s main purpose is to basically to be the extra guy. If the photographer needs an extra stinger (extension cord) out of the van, the runner can go get it. If the model needs a frappuccino, the runner can go get it. Again, an extra person to save you the time and hassle of doing all the little work so that you can focus on getting the best shot.

There are many other crew members that you might want to add – gaffers, set designers, drivers, editors, caterers (very important) – but this all depends on the length and involvement of your shoot and, of course, your budget.

eerie fantasy dead day portrait setup

A slower exposure allows the candle’s flame to glow slightly

Like This Article?

Don't Miss The Next One!

Join over 100,000 photographers of all experience levels who receive our free photography tips and articles to stay current:

One response to “Eerie Portrait Photography: Environment Set Up and Lighting”

  1. cuitlahuac says:

    IMHO Julia Kusmenko got a better aproach to this theme, great video thoug.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

New! Want more photography tips? We now offer a free newsletter for photographers:

No, my photos are the best, close this forever