In previous years, I’ve offered thoughts on locations and the differing techniques for photographing children and adults at Halloween. This year, let me suggest a venue where you will find the wee ones dressed as normal Halloween characters and adults who, in the spirit of a traditional Mexican celebration, have a different take on masks and costumes.
Get your camera warmed-up shooting at your regular haunts on Halloween then, on Nov 1-2, hustle over to San Diego’s Old Town State Park for Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). The colorful celebration features unbelievable skull-like face painting, altars dedicated to those who have passed, and colorfully dressed folklorico dancers.
Photographing Dia de los Muertos has something for all ranges of photographers from tyro to pro. The altars can present challenges that may require lens changes; use a telephoto to blur unwanted backgrounds by shooting from a distance and a kit lens to stay up close and personal. The skull faces can test your mastery of light because of the stark contrasts between face sides. You can experiment with shutter speeds while photographing the dancing; do you want to freeze the action or allow blur to show speed? And, of course, as soon as it gets dark you have a new set of challenges!
You can take the trolly if you don’t want to fight for a parking space. But, however you get there, take all your gear, including flash and tripod, because there’ll be plenty of uses for it!