The Creative Mama » inspiring art, encouraging women

Perfect Pumpkin Patch Pics

*say that three times real fast*

Okay. I’m going to do something very brave here. I’m going to show you some really scary pictures that I took back in 2006. Please, don’t run. Please don’t scream in terror. You may want to cover your eyes. And perhaps your mouth. Here it goes:

I warned you, but noooo, you had to look. Well, at least the kids are cute.

The tradition of pumpkin patch pictures is definitely something most parents try to tackle this time of year (which reminds me, we need to do ours), but as evidenced by the images above, pumpkin patches aren’t the easiest location in the world in which to take photographs. Most of you photography buffs probably already know these things, but in case you don’t, I’d like to offer a few tips that I’ve discovered over the years to make your pumpkin patch pics pretty:

1. Look at that harsh sun in pic #2! If at all possible, try to go to a shaded pumpkin patch (and I mean shaded under a tent or roof of some kind…not tree shade…that can create yucky hot spots in your images). If the timing is right, you can rush out on a cloudy day for the same shaded effect. But, if you’re in Texas like me, we mostly have full sun, so I like to wait until a few minutes before sunrise or an hour or so before sunset to take advantage of that beautiful soft light. The added benefit is that at those times, you will probably have the place to yourself.

2. “Oompa Loompa.” Here’s the other challenge in dealing with pumpkin patches: everything tends to have a lovely orange glow.  If your kids aren’t dressed as characters from the well-known book about a little boy and a chocolate factory, then it’s not really a good look (see the very first image above).  You can help avoid the orange color cast by positioning your subjects so that 1) the light source is behind them and 2) their heads are slightly tilted up toward you and away from the pumpkins.

3. Vary your angles. Snap a few pics from way above, directly in front, and even below shooting up. Zoom in close to just give the hint of the patch or get a real wide angle to convey the scope of the patch if it’s a large one. Use a telephoto lens and turn those pumpkins into great bokeh (or boo-keh!). This is especially helpful in creating depth in an otherwise sparse pumpkin patch.

4. And finally, if you can’t find a good time to go to the pumpkin patch or if there isn’t a nice one near you, just bring the pumpkins to you. You can do a lot with just a few store bought pumpkins:

Or, my personal favorite:

Enjoy and happy snapping!!

About Michele

Michele is a former marketing guru turned child and family photographer in Austin, TX. She is surrounded by three energetic kids at home and a husband who works tirelessly to keep them all educated and fed. Much like her life, Michele's work is chameleon-like... always changing with her mood and inspiration. Her mind is constantly abuzz with new concepts, but thankfully, she is regularly reminded by her kids to slow down and enjoy life's simplest moments. Michele is the owner and photographer of Pinkle Toes Photography and she also provides resources and templates for photographers all over the world via Pinkle Toes 4 Photographers.

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  • Stacy of KSW

    I’m no professional photographer but your very first picture in this post is WONDERFUL! I love the way you caught their personalities and the pumpkins look great in the background. Not sure why you would consider this a bad photo? It’s my personal favorite :)

  • Jennifer

    Great tips!!!! I love it!!!!

  • Pam

    very nice!!! planning to use pumpkins this weekend in some photos I am taking!! Great advice!

  • Sarah

    ADORE that last photo!! Adore. Great tips. Going to the Dallas Arboretum tomorrow, and hoping to find a few spots of shade. ?? Will try to keep your tips in mind. Thanks!

  • Wayfaring Wanderer

    Awesome tips! I\’m with you when it comes to looking through the archives, I cringe at some of the things I used to do to my photos 😀 haha We all have to start somewhere, though!


  • Marla-Dee

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful tips and inspiration! Omg, that last photo is the best and made me smile. Too cute!

  • Amarie

    Great post! Thank you! Just took my first pumpkin patch shots last Sunday, and oh! That bright sun and those bright orange pumpkins! Wish I had this advice before! With your permission, may I direct my blog readers to your post?

    • Michele

      Sure, Amarie! Feel free to repost!

  • Marla-Dee

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful tips! Omg, that last photo is the best and made me smile. Too cute!

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  • The Rancher’s Wife Kate

    Oh Michelle,
    Thank you so much for the inspiration. I have yet to even buy a pumpkin this year. Since we live on a ranch…we don’t really have any pumpkin patch places to go.
    I plan to buy some and use them just like you did at home!
    I have a 7 month old little baby boy who has plenty of rolls and cute bottom to boot!!! YIPPEEE for the inspiration. :)

  • Lyndee

    THANK YOU SO MUCH for this post!!! It couldn’t have come at a better time for my family, so I can’t wait to give it a try.
    Happy Halloween :)