Happy Halloween! A Few Tips To Spookify Architecture

The Infirmary

Happy Halloween! I'm not one for pumpkin patches and there's not a lot of fall color in San Diego. Instead, I turn to my architecture photos and "spookify" them. This is a photo of the gate leading to the infirmary wing of the Eastern State Penitentiary. It's an excellent place for photography. I read they run a nighttime, Halloween themed photography program, too. Uber-creepy.

Here's a few tips to take your architecture shots in a creepy direction:

  • Cool It Down: Remove warmth from the photo. Whatever your post processing tools may be, there's gonna be a warmth slider. Pull it to the left, into the blues, and cool it down.
  • Drop The Vibrance: If the photo has a lot of color, take the vibrance in the negative direction and suck the life out of the photo (vampire pun intended :). You may choose to do this selective for a set of colors. In this photo, I kept the reds boosted a little to amplify the red cross.
  • Play Up The Shadows: Deep shadows are creepy, they add mystery. Play up the light and shadow of the image. This can be done by darkening portions of the image, adding contrast, or a deep vignette. Experiment and apply light/dark treatments to only segments of the photo.
  • Add A Color Cast: For some photos, adding a color cast of a dark gray, purplish-gray, or blue can increase the spook-factor.

If you like the processing on this image, it's one of the 12 photos I show you the step by step processing of in my new book Landscapes, Architecture and onOne Software.