4 Cinematography Tips For Horror Filmmakers by Sumo Entertainment JD3

Crawford Miller

According to, Sumo Entertainment JD3, horror is a detailed genre that calls for unique lighting techniques. These four cinematography tips will make any horror film turn out professional looking:

  1. Shoot Through Things- Many horror film directors are drawn to doing extreme closeups, but doing the exact opposite has a much better effect. Instead of overcrowding your frame with actor faces, try something different. Even though shooting extreme closeups on the face can add emotion, take a wide shot from the outside of the house (looking in) can be more powerful. You are showing the isolation and vulnerability of the character. It also creates an unsettling feeling, and the technique can be effective if done under the right conditions.
  2. Underexpose- In a horror film, underexposing can be extremely effective, as it will leave more areas of the frame in the shadows. The audience will be left with a “mysterious” feeling. Light the scene in a way that feels organically underexposed.
  3. Use Haze- Using a fog machine can add texture and mystery to a scene. This is considered one of the oldest tricks in the book, but it is still effective.
  4. Use Colored Gels- red gels can be highly effective in a horror film. Red can make an audience feel uneasy (in a good way). This is how you want your audience to feel when watching the finished flick.

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