Pumpkin Portrait Season: Photo Tips for Better Pictures


Pumpkin patches make for great portraits to capture the fall season and provide pictures of your kids growing up, your pet, or the family together at last. Most pumpkin patches have a variety of opportunities for taking pictures–but some do it better. Lighting is key!

The easiest, most guaranteed success for daytime pictures will come about in shaded areas. The picture shown was taken this week at Pa’s Pumpkin Patch in Long Beach, at Pacific Coast Highway and Studebaker. The patch includes a bale of hay set up in the shade for portraits, though many prefer to take more spontaneous photos in the pumpkin patches, on the train rides, petting zoo and other places where you can have fun. Your non-critical eye will embrace most photos you take, but with just a few variations your pictures may be better, and more frame-worthy.

Look out for these problems:

  • Shadows: When you plan your photos, the harsh shadows of the sun really make a picture tough to enjoy if not planned correctly. Bright overhead sun between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. (approx.) creates the dark shadows cast from the nose downward, making your nose look huge like a witch’s in the photo.
  • Reflections from pumpkins: Pumpkins cast a very strong orange color onto lighter skin tones. Sometimes the orange and red tones are overwhelming. A good photo software can balance the skin tones, however.
  • Lamp posts, flags and an assortment of annoying things that look like they’re shooting right out of a person’s head.

Insider tip: If you can plan your excursion to the pumpkin patch, wait till the “golden hour” on a sunny day just an hour before the sun goes down. That hour is simply magic among the bales of hay and pumpkins. You are better off NOT being in the shade during this time, but out in the open. The sun usually casts a warm, red to golden glow on the entire scene, creating an incredible mood that lends to the Halloween theme in photos. Many of the professional photo shoots integrating outdoor scenes to sell products such as kids toys are planned for late afternoon.

There are hundreds of great pumpkin patches for picture taking in California. Here are just a few:


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