Halloween may only come once every 365 days, but horror photography tells hair-raising tales and showcase mind-blowing special effects all through the year. When you read through magazines such as Scream or visit a website dedicated to all things macabre, you are bound to come face-to-face with some of the most spine-chilling horror photographs in the world. Although grisly photos can evoke an array of different feelings, it can also inspire creative individuals to try their own hand at horror photography. A career as a horror photographer is without any doubt a very exciting and rewarding one and, although it entails a lot of hard work and creative flair, a few simple tips will soon have you making a name for yourself as a hot new photographer.
Get a killer portfolio
One thing every aspiring horror photographer needs is a killer portfolio. While a printed portfolio is always handy, especially if you want to showcase how good your photographs look printed, an online presence is becoming increasingly important. Although posting your work on Facebook and Instagram are great ways to share your work, it is important to remember that, despite popular belief, not everyone is on social media. Some of the world’s best horror photographers, including Joshua Hoffine and Brendon Burton, sport impressive websites that showcase their talents beautifully. When you start out with building a portfolio, emphasise your chosen style from the get-go as a mismatch of photos touching on countless styles may make you seem indecisive and unsure of the direction you want to take.
Manage your finances and get insured
When working as a freelance horror photographer, you need to manage your finances very carefully since your salary is not technically guaranteed in the same way as if you were working for someone else. It may be a good idea to keep your personal expenses separate from your photography expenses and to pay yourself a salary instead of widely spending as you go. It is of equal importance to make sure you are adequately insured as working as a horror photographer comes with a certain amount of risk – especially as far as your equipment is concerned. Photographer insurance can offer protection not only in terms of damage or theft, but injury and lawsuits as well.
Remember that practice makes perfect
Whether you plan on focussing on abandoned buildings, forests, and an ephemeral narrative like Kyle Thompson, or see yourself as more of a Gregory Crewdson, the more you work on your technical skills, the better you will become. Not only should you pick up your camera and photograph as much as possible, but you should also experiment with different lenses, photography styles, and makeup effects wherever you can. Remember that a solid foundation is essential and that you should only ever tackle advanced techniques once you have mastered the basics. It takes time to become a great horror photographer – something all the greats can attest to. Over you’re your skills will improve and, through hard work and perseverance, you will be able to forge a career for yourself as a horror photographer.
If you are a fan of all things horror and enjoy taking photographs, a career as a horror photographer may be perfect for you. As long as you are willing to work hard and continue to develop your skills you may soon find yourself rubbing shoulders with some of the best in the industry.