How to Photograph a Jack O' Lantern

You've carved a great pumpkin, but it will only last so long before it sags and starts to rot. Preserve yourcreativity by taking aphotograph of it! Here are some tips for the best results.


  1. 1
    Photograph the pumpkin promptly after you have carved it. When the wide grin has sagged into a lopsided grimace, you won't want that photo anyway.
  2. 2
    Set up the Jack-o'-Lantern. Place it somewhere that it will stand up and be stable, and where you can shoot photos from the desired angle(s) and distance(s).
  3. 3
    Light the Jack-o'-Lantern. For best effect, there is really nothing like a candle. It has just the right orange glow. If you're using a candle, it's best if there's not too much of a breeze (it could blow the flame and cause the inside to catch on fire). You also might want to consider using extra candles for the photograph.
  4. 4
    Steady the camera. Since you will have low light, it's very important to eliminate movement. Use a tripod if you have one. If not, set the camera against a solid surface, such as a table.
  5. 5
    Use a setting and/or film for low light, if you have the choice. Turn off the flash of your camera.If you have a camera with shutter speeds you will want the shutter to be open longer so that the film camera can capture all of the light. If you have a film camera you will want to set it at about f/15. Even if you don't, or if you don't know how to set the camera, give it a try.
  6. 6
    Turn out the lights. Yes, it's counter-intuitive to turn off the lights to take a photo, but your Jack-o'-Lantern will put out a lot of light from the candle.
  7. Image titled Jack o' lantern_pair.JPG
    Move the candle, pumpkin, and camera so that you see reflected light rather than light directly from the candle. Try to angle things so that the candle flame itself is behind a piece that's not cut out. This will give the rest a warm, orange glow.
  8. 8
    Take the photo, making sure not to move the camera. If your camera has a timer setting, place the camera on a solid surface and use the timer to take the photo.
  9. 9
    Try a few photos with the lights on too, especially if you have any special effects or intricate carving details you'd like to show off.


  • Take several photos, especially if you have a digital camera. That way, you can weed out any blurry ones shots that don't quite make the grade. Preview your photos promptly, in case you want to try again.
  • Expose the lens for about 5 seconds to add a cool fog effect, making sure no objects moves. That will ruin the photo.
  • Not all cameras will take very good photos in the dark. If yours doesn't, it doesn't, but at least you tried.


  • Use candles safely and never leave them unattended.
  • No matter what, if you rubbed the inside of your pumpkin with petroleum jelly DO NOT put a candle in the pumpkin because petroleum jelly is flammable.

Things You'll Need

  • A already-carved Jack-O-Lantern
  • A Camera
  • A Candle (optional)

Article Info

Categories: Halloween Pumpkins