I love fall, especially Halloween! My kids love everything about it too, especially decorating the house with spider webs and skeletons, witches and jack-o-lanterns. My sister is the same way. She adores all things having to do with Halloween. Last year she created a family portrait gallery wall with images I took of her family when they were visiting for Thanksgiving. This year for her birthday, because she loves Halloween so much, we did a haunted family portrait session with them. For the month of October, her family portrait gallery wall has become haunted! I’m going to show you how quick and easy these images are to create in a few simple steps so that you can do in time for Halloween this year.
What You’ll Need:
- Your camera and lens,
- a “spooky” location (An old house, church, warehouse, hallway, or barn would work great), and
- a tripod (this is a must! I did not have mine with me and I had a little bit of trouble in post-processing).
First you’ll set up your tripod. Get your ghosts together and take the shot. Without moving the tripod at all, have all of your ghosts move out of the frame. Take another shot of the same space without the ghosts. So, essentially you’re taking two photos for every shot. One with ghosts and one without.
1. Open both images in Photoshop and do the same basic edits on both of them.
2. Next, drag and drop the image with the ghosts onto the background.
3. Change the opacity of the top layer to 50% so you can see both layers at the same time. Do your best to line up the top image with the background.
4. Once both images are lined up, change the opacity of the top layer back to 100%.
5. Add a layer mask by clicking on the mask icon at the bottom of your toolbar. Change the opacity of the layer to between 45-55% until the ghosts look semi-transparent.
6. Invert the layer mask and your top layer will disappear. (Ctrl+ I on a PC)
7. With a soft white brush set at 100% opacity, start brushing your ghosts back onto the background. Be sure your mask is selected.
8. Once my ghosts were visible, I merged the layers (Layer > Merge Visible), added a slight vignette, and warmed up the image with a warming action from Child’s Play Actions.
9. As a finishing touch, I added a texture layer set as hard light at 24% opacity.
Flatten and save and we’re DONE!
Please be sure to check out the other images from our Haunted Ghostly Session on my blog.
Now go and give it a try. Your kids, grandkids, sisters, brothers, uncles, cousins, friends, clients will love it! Happy Halloween!
Wendy VonSosen is a natural light photographer in the San Francisco Bay Area specializing in high school seniors, newborns, and beauty portraiture. She’s also a wife and mother of four. Check out her portfolio, visit her on Facebook and follow her on Pinterest.