Sep 05

Creating a Child of Darkness

Ok, well, not for real…just photographically.  I occasionally take part in a ‘weekly assignment’ at one of the forums I frequent, where users submit photos on a weekly theme.  A winner is picked (though there’s no real prize), but the main thing is to get you thinking outside the box and to try new photographic techniques or subjects that you may not normally shoot.  This past week’s theme was ‘Creepy.’

I thought about it for a while, and what popped into my head was that evil children is about as creepy as it gets, so I asked my (normally quite lovely) daughter to help with this assignment.  She gleefully agreed.  I put my flashgun on the floor, aimed up (and fitted with a wireless flash trigger), and we sat in the hallway with the lights out.

At first I wanted her hair all messed up in front of her, with her reaching out, but that didn’t work.  Then I tried for the ‘evil smile’ which just ended up in fits of giggles (she is 4, after all).  Eventually I settled on, “Don’t make a face and just stare into the camera.”  While this also resulted in giggles, I got a few frames that worked.

A quick high contrast conversion to black and white, and inversion of tones on her irises, and voila!  My cute little girl transformed into a psychotic demon child.  Best of all, we both had a great time!

Child of Darkness – Olympus OM-D E-M5 with Leica 25mm f/1.4 @ f/5.6

About the author

Jordan Steele

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Admiring Light; Photographer; Electrical Engineer and Dad


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  1. KO

    Okay that scared me alright

  2. Dad


    ….That is very creepy from a Grandfathers point of view; but the effect is great and could be incorporated into her Halloween costume this year.

    On and editing side I’d suggest that you work on the shadow above her nose.
    Kinda looks like the McGraw Hill Tower is looming.
    ……Keep up the good work.

  3. Jordan Steele

    Thanks, Dad…though the lighting from below is supposed to make odd distorted shadows on the face. 😉

  4. Andrea

    Interesting shot – reminds me of the old b/w movie “Children of the damned”…

  5. Tali

    great spooky picture, the contrast is great, almost velvety.
    I’m trying to scare the crap out of my girlfriend, I want to do this by messing with the background on her computer. I need a picture that looks fine and innocent but then I’m going to set her background so it changes to a horrifying parody of the previous picture. I want her to see a normal, nice little girl background, then open up a book (she’s reading horror on her laptop lately) and when she closes it have the terrifying picture staring her in the face.
    It might cost me the price of fixing a broken screen but I’m going to record her reaction so it will be worth it.
    I was wondering if I could have the original?

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