Halloween Lighting in a Small Space: Take and Make Great Photography with Gavin Hoey

In this video I’ll show you how to create spooky Halloween lighting in a small home studio. Hello I’m Gavin Hoey, and you’re watching Adorama TV brought to you by Adorama, the camera store that’s got everything for us photographers… And it’s that time of year… Halloween is right around the corner, which means I get to turn my small home studio into something just a little bit more creepy. This year I’ve gone for a Chemist or Alchemist, or Apothecary style setup. Well I say that, but actually what I’ve got is one of our old tabletops, one or two old bottles… quite a few new bottles but with stickers and filled with colored water.. so for this to appear creepy, it’s all about the lighting, and I’ll take you through that step by step. So let’s get some lights set. Let’s get a model in… let’s get shooting. So to help me out today, I’ve got the amazing Sophie. Sophie is gonna be the model for this, and as you can see she is dressed as an apothecary, sort of chemist, sort of Alchemist, kind of look, which fits in with the little scene we built in my small home studio. Now the lighting for this is going to be very different to the light that you can see now. I want this to be much more edgy and dramatic… and much harder light sources. I’m gonna kick off with a speed light, now my speed light is gonna light Sophie through the lantern. I want to give this the illusion that the lantern is actually working… it doesn’t work, it’s got lots of holes in.. it’s quite dangerous… so I’m going to tuck this just in behind. Now you might notice that this speed light is hidden by a whole bunch of bottles… that’s not a mistake, that’s all part of the planning because I don’t want the speed light to be in the picture and these bottles will they just hide the fact that this is being lit by a speed light and not a real Lantern okay let’s take a test shot see how this looks here we go so that looks really good we’ve got directional light but if it really was lit by a flame it would have a much more warmer orange tone so to recreate that all I’m gonna do is get a piece of orange gel pop it in front of the speed light and put a little diffusing cap back on as well put it back into place and take the same shot now the gel will act a bit like a pair of sunglasses so I’m gonna adjust my exposure just a tiny little bit brighter and let’s take that shot okay here we go quick test shot and yeah that works really well it does indeed look like that lantern is lit and it’s lit with a flame now we’ve got quite a large shadow area on this side of the setup so to put our little wash of light in here I’m gonna add a second light now it could be any lights it could be a speed lights but I’m using the Explorer 400 and I’ve just got a standard reflector in here so let’s just see how this looks here we go so that looks okay but it doesn’t really have the mood that I’m after so to get a bit more dramatic directional light I’m actually going to use one of these so this is a honeycomb grid it’s a really tight 110 degree grid and I’m gonna pop that into the reflector now there is a reason I’m using the Explorer 400 and that’s because it has a modeling lamp which allows me to direct the light with much more accuracy when I turn off the video lights now once again that will take away some of the light so I’m going to adjust my exposure to compensate for that let’s take a test picture see how it looks so this is getting better now we’ve got some mood in the picture but it doesn’t quite have the creepy feel that I’m after so to achieve that I’ve added one more thing to this light it is a green gel and that should add a nice sort of green glow to everything that it touches so let’s see how this looks or once again you may need to adjust your exposure when you’ve added the gel that’s great really good so this has come together really well I like the mood I like the spooky feeling all we need to do now is to give Sophie some props and we’ll take a few pictures so Sophie are you ready okay let’s see what we can find you it’s not off with this lovely book okay hold on turn in towards that light get yourself sorted out take your time I know it’s not in every room if you’ve seen my previous videos then you probably know where this is going to go because what makes everything better in a studio is smoke and this scene is just crying out for a bit of smoke from my smoke machine now I can’t just fill the area with smoke you have to backlight smoke so I’ve got a third light this is an evolved 200 and this is going to go right in behind Sophie now the power for this is likely to change as we apply more smoke to the scene smoke acts like a massive softbox so it does take away a bit of control so you have to be ready to adjust your settings as you’re shooting so let’s get Sam in doing smoke duty and let’s take some pictures bring on the smoke I need just a hint of smoke just a little bit of smoke right behind Sophie just a little to your left well it’s no secret that I love using the smoke machine in my small home studio but when it comes to Halloween nothing says creepy like a little bit of smoke now if you’ve enjoyed this video or you’ve got any questions leave me a comment below click on the bell icon to get regular notifications of all the brand new videos right here on adoramatv and of course click on that subscribe button I’m Gavin Hoey thanks for watching.


  1. jackspratsmom October 24, 2019 at 2:02 pm

    Love some Gavin Hoey!
    Will you ever do anymore 15 minute challenges?

  2. Cleford E. Biongan October 24, 2019 at 2:11 pm

    always always always……inspiring techniques Gavin.!….

  3. Ranger Bob October 24, 2019 at 2:12 pm

    Great work, Gavin. It was fun to watch you build up the scene, light by light. Happy Halloween!

  4. Francisco Javier Periñán October 24, 2019 at 2:12 pm

    I love this videos, thanks!

  5. Tibor Jäger October 24, 2019 at 2:14 pm


  6. Mike James October 24, 2019 at 2:14 pm

    Thanks, Gavin, for another excellent shoot. Well done Sophie!

  7. Daniel Clifton October 24, 2019 at 2:19 pm

    Another incredible video by Gavin. Thanks for letting us look on as you show how to set up these amazing photos. Not only do you teach us how to do it, but you inspire us to try to create our own sets and photos. Thank you to Gavin and Adorama.

  8. Gianni Di Leo October 24, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    Very interesting and inspirating. But also needing some resources. Thank you Gavin.

  9. Janice Forest October 24, 2019 at 2:23 pm

    Thanks this is awesome!

  10. Ed Blazejewski October 24, 2019 at 2:28 pm

    Gavin you put the A in Amazing – awesome video, great model too!

  11. Sportserjeff October 24, 2019 at 2:29 pm

    I might have used dry ice for some smoking chemicals. Just something to try. Great video!

  12. Huie D. October 24, 2019 at 2:31 pm

    I have a quick question for you sir, when you are lighting fog, or smoke, do you always back light it or do you ever front light it?

  13. simianinc October 24, 2019 at 2:36 pm

    Marvellous Gavin

  14. James Bailey October 24, 2019 at 2:36 pm

    Stunning Gavin!!! You are an inspiration!

  15. Michael Kantor October 24, 2019 at 2:37 pm

    There were so many good things about this video. First great tutorial Gavin. Nice set up and explanation as always. You are my fav go to !! Second..a good model makes a difference and she nails it ! Third I guess I need a smoke machine lol. Well done !!

  16. Richard Tierney October 24, 2019 at 2:37 pm

    The Master of Small Home Studios 🙂 Seriously you really are brilliant at lighting and smoke!

  17. Michael Becker October 24, 2019 at 2:38 pm

    One of the best episodes Gavin ! and Sophie is a brilliant model for this scenery, very well done, both of you !

  18. Bill A October 24, 2019 at 2:42 pm

    Its hard to pick the best shot, Gavin….

  19. Brian Aikens October 24, 2019 at 2:49 pm

    Fabulous video….very inspiring.

  20. Robbie Keene October 24, 2019 at 2:50 pm

    Excellent session and Sam has out done herself on the props! Just great all 'round!

  21. Gordon Elwell October 24, 2019 at 2:54 pm

    Great stuff Gavin! Always look foreward to your videos . . .

  22. James Grayly October 24, 2019 at 2:56 pm

    Awesome Gavin, the finished result is amazing

  23. lopatanorm October 24, 2019 at 3:00 pm

    Great video, great mood, cute model 😁

  24. dunnymonster October 24, 2019 at 3:01 pm

    Spook- tacular! Always look forward to your videos, brilliant as always 😊👍

  25. Vela Anónimos October 24, 2019 at 3:10 pm

    Gavin you're an amazing teacher… Thank you for your videos

  26. Mike Starchuk October 24, 2019 at 3:12 pm

    Always amazed at your imagination, creativity and technical skills! Excellent work and thanks for posting.

  27. Mark Leslie October 24, 2019 at 3:17 pm

    Superb work.

  28. bigbaddms October 24, 2019 at 3:22 pm

    Nice work! Loved the tutorial

  29. robert bates October 24, 2019 at 3:23 pm

    Really good video Gavin, simple set up but very effective results.

  30. John B October 24, 2019 at 3:30 pm

    as usual Gavin, excellent

  31. Richard O October 24, 2019 at 3:34 pm

    Gavin Hoey always knocks it out of the park with his simple tutorial videos.

  32. Bruce Prichard October 24, 2019 at 3:35 pm

    Excellent, as always Gavin, informative, interesting and fun

  33. Charlie Liu October 24, 2019 at 3:38 pm

    I absolutely love how you share the process and ideas of your images. Thank you

  34. Sky October 24, 2019 at 3:39 pm

    I love the idea of the fact that you were able to mix it up a little bit with the gels. the green looks very very dramatic..

  35. roberto cuen October 24, 2019 at 3:41 pm

    Gavin. Never change. I love your work. You're an inspiration. And your humble attitude is what makes you great. And I love your Halloween photoshoots. Thank you!!

  36. Khandie Photography October 24, 2019 at 3:41 pm

    love it when he says 'one or two bottles' hahahaha 🙂

  37. RS October 24, 2019 at 3:46 pm

    Gavin and his smoke machine, inseparable !
    Great video, thanks for sharing

  38. aaron burchael October 24, 2019 at 3:47 pm


  39. Barky Von Schnauzer October 24, 2019 at 4:00 pm

    Gav' this was awesome. Totally loved it. And! I'm going to try it out. Thanks a bunch.

  40. Madbot October 24, 2019 at 4:10 pm

    Nice lighting atmosphere Gavin.

  41. patricio madrid October 24, 2019 at 4:14 pm

    very cool

  42. phani kumpatla October 24, 2019 at 4:49 pm

    You are just an amazing teacher..! Learned a lot from you Gavin. 🙌🙌

  43. Jim Roberts October 24, 2019 at 5:05 pm

    Are you able to do High Speed Sync with all three flash units? BTW Pictures were gorgeous.

  44. Ajax Rodriguez October 24, 2019 at 5:43 pm

    I, too, shoot in a small studio. When I use my fog machine, I have just a short time to shoot before the smoke gets in front of my subject and causes there to be a haze. Do you just wait it out until the fog dies down or do you have a way to control the fog?

  45. David F October 24, 2019 at 5:53 pm


  46. Rui Lopes October 24, 2019 at 5:54 pm

    Brilliant work!

  47. Alan Vandever October 24, 2019 at 5:55 pm

    Always love your video. I would have added a little smoke coming from one of the bottles but that's just me. Like you, I love smoke. 🙂

  48. Eric Harbaugh October 24, 2019 at 6:07 pm

    So Cool, one of your best Gavin, I love how you put it all together, and yes the smoke does add that finishing touch. Sophie is a great model.

  49. Makkster1972 October 24, 2019 at 6:29 pm

    Looks amazing! Love the results. I don’t understand why at the end you’re lit with the lights in the green and yellowy effect, what I mean is how come you don’t just light that way from the start or is is better to use the strobes?

  50. Charles Welch October 24, 2019 at 6:35 pm

    Well done Gavin, all I need now is a small home studio. Oh, can I borrow Sophie?

  51. Steve Andrade October 24, 2019 at 7:19 pm

    Once again an amazing set and concept. I’ve always loved your work!

  52. Wendy Arthur October 24, 2019 at 7:22 pm

    Hi Gavin. I have been following hour channel for years and am always in awe of your images and creativity. Where do you find all those wonderful props and do you make your own backgrounds?
    Thank you for sharing these videos I have learned so much from them. 🙂

  53. Nina Cleven October 24, 2019 at 7:27 pm

    Loved it! You sure know how to maximize your small home studio space to its full potential.

  54. Fokke de Boer October 24, 2019 at 7:34 pm

    Once again a great video, Gavin, thanks for making and sharing it!

  55. Rich Tea October 24, 2019 at 7:37 pm

    I always like how you gradually build the set-up.
    The final pictures are amongst my favourite of your work.
    Great job – thank you!

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