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Photographing Zombies

Updated on February 20, 2014

There have been many movies, comic books, and TV series dedicated to zombies. Although I am not a fan per say, I do watch some TV shows like "The Walking Dead" simply because my kids like them.

The first thing to do is conduct some research into typical zombie lore; clothing skin look, hair, eyes and behaviors. keep in mind that zombies, according to most scientific research are not real, so this is a make believe project based mostly on the typical Hollywood thinking regarding these creatures.

"A zombie is an "animated corpse resurrected by mystical means, such as witchcraft".The term is often figuratively applied to describe a hypnotized person bereft of consciousness and self-awareness, yet ambulant and able to respond to surrounding stimuli. Since the late 19th century, zombies have acquired notable popularity, especially in North American and European folklore.

In modern times, the term "zombie" has been applied to an undead being in horror fiction, largely drawn from George A. Romero's 1968 film Night of the Living Dead. They have appeared as plot devices in various books, films, television shows, and video games."Wikipedia

Once your research is done it should be relatively easy to recreate the zombie look; regular clothes, soiled and teared a bit, a grayish to pale skin tone which can be accomplished quite easily with some make up, perhaps some contact lenses and some fake blood smeared around the mouth, body and hands and to give the look its the finishing touches, some teeth painting to give the appearance of rotting as well as black lipstick. As far as the fake blood, for a more "real' look an almost black "blood" seems to be the fad.

The hair does not really require that much attention but a disheveled style as well as an unkempt sort of look works better.

Some skin lesions make the look a bit more real but the props usually sold at most regular Halloween costume shops have to be hand painted to give them a more real feel, however with some effort and a little artistic touches en these can be made to appear almost real and can enhance the apparent zombie appearance more.

Since this is mostly a fun exercise and not much else, you can pose your zombies as if chasing some unsuspecting bystanders. Off course you can get more creative and give the project a more Halloween theme and do the shoot in a studio with low lighting or even do it at night.

That is mostly it unless you have access to a good make up and prosthetic artist and can take up the make design up a notch. If this is the case then some prosthetic work around the mouth and head area suggesting that human flesh has rotten away and now bones are peeking through can enhance the overall effect.

If you can get a large group of friends and relatives to help you with the project , then even better, perhaps make it an annual happening since this seems to be a common modern day theme.

There is no special photographic gear needed other than a zoom lens to zoom in and out and crop on the spot and maybe a flash unit. If doing the shoot in a studio then use one photo lamp, since you do not want to illuminate the set up too much, the scene tends to look better if the light is a little dim. A reflector and a dark to black backdrop and a simple muslin is enough for this. You can accentuate the effects by using some colored gels placed on the photo lamps that will give the scene a general color hue.

Take some close ups of the face, especially if done by a professional, as well as some full body takes. If your zombies are to be interacting with regular humans make sure that all the participants take on a frightened look and stay away from the comical theme, unless off course you are aiming for it in the first place.

This does not mean that you have to be totally serious, do have some fun and do the best that you can always keeping in mind that this is first a photo project and a fun excuse to dress up second.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. | Source
Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0
Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0 | Source

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    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 5 years ago from Miami, Florida

      AM Fredenburg: Thank you so much!

    • AMFredenburg profile image

      Aldene Fredenburg 5 years ago from Southwestern New Hampshire

      Oddly enough, I know quite a few people who would be interested in this particular skill. . . . hmmmm! Voted up, Tweeted and added to Facebook.

    • Miller2232 profile image

      Sinclair Miller III 5 years ago from Florida

      LuisEGonzalez: Your Welcome

    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 5 years ago from Miami, Florida

      Miller2232: Thank you

    • Miller2232 profile image

      Sinclair Miller III 5 years ago from Florida

      Now that is how I pictured what a Zombie would look like if an actual Zombie Apocalypse were to happen.