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2021 | Salem's Zombie Walk: A Photographer's Guide!

* Photos of Zombie Models may be sensitive to some, reader discretion is advised!*
The Shutterbug's 2019 Zombie Photo Walk
Zombie Walk 2019

Salem's Annual Zombie walk is a staple for The Shutterbug every Halloween. We have attended several Zombie walks throughout the years, and we have taken hundreds, if not thousands of photos of zombified Salem residents.

Our 2021 following of the Zombie Walk will be at 2:30pm on Saturday, October 30th outside of the Taproot Cafe and Lounge. See the event details here:

If this is your first time attending the Zombie Walk, we have several pointers to keep you in the know!

Bring the Right Lenses

Sample Photos from Each Focal Range
Sample Photos from Each Focal Range

Telephoto Lenses

When capturing any event, you don't want to miss out on the perfect shot just because you were 'too far' away to really capture anything of detail. For the Zombie Walk, the first scene is typically the Michael Jackson's Thriller flash-mob. With zombies dancing multiple rows, you will be too far back to capture some nice close-ups of the dancer's faces.

This photo is an example of when you would want a telephoto lens

In this scenario, we highly recommend bringing your telephoto lenses. If you have an interchangeable lens camera, and you purchased it with more than one lens as a kit, you will have a longer telephoto lens in your set-up already. If you don't have a second lens, we highly recommend picking up a telephoto lens for this event. We have several rental options, like the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 G VR, Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II, and even the Sony 70-200mm f/2.8GM (along with the FE 70-300mm G OSS, and not to mention the FE 100-400mm GM OSS).

With the telephoto, you can see each person's expressions

Telephoto Lenses Under $1,500 Nikon

Nikon AF Zoom-NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4-5.6G Lens $169.95

Nikon NIKKOR Z DX 50-250mm f/4.5-6.3 VR Lens $349.95

Nikon AF-P DX NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED Lens $349.95

Nikon AF-P DX NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VR Lens $399.95

Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Lens $499.95

Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G ED VR Lens $699.95

Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR Lens $899.95

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED VR Lens $1,099.95


Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III Lens $199.99

Canon EF-M 55-200mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens $349.99

Canon EF-M 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM Lens $499

Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS II USM Lens $549.99

Canon RF 100-400mm f/5.6-8 IS USM Lens $649

Canon RF 24-240mm f/4-6.3 IS USM Lens $899.99

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM Lens $1099


Sony E 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 OSS Lens $299.99

Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4 G OSS Lens $649.99

Sony E 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Lens $649.99

Sony E 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS LE Lens $849.99

Sony E 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS Lens $899.99

Sony E 70-350mm f/4.5-6.3 G OSS Lens $999.99

Sony FE 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS Lens $1,049.99

Sony FE 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G OSS Lens $1,274.99

Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS Lens $1,499.99

Want to pack less lenses? We totally understand! Portrait lenses or prime lenses can be substituted for telephoto lenses. Depending on the range, you could get away with using a prime lens alone.

Portrait Lenses / Prime Lenses

Close up of a woman dressed as a zombie, with a portrait lens.
Like a telephoto lens, portrait lenses highlight the subject.

Portrait lenses are largely used to highlight a person or a small group of people. For this event, capturing these close-up shots of the zombies is quite the treat! Instead of an impersonal wide-angle shot where your subject will be lost among the many people around them, you will be highlighting a specific character. Even as a candid photo, portrait lenses allow you to have that close-up shot of someone who you may not personally know. Portrait lenses for highlighting your subject are at a minimum of 50mm.

We highly recommend the following lenses for under $1,500:


Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G Lens $219.99

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G Lens $479.99

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G Lens $449.99

Nikon AF-S Micro NIKKOR 60mm f/2.8G ED Lens $599.99

Nikon NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.8 S Lens $599.99

Nikon NIKKOR Z MC 50mm f/2.8 Macro Lens $649.99

Nikon NIKKOR Z 85mm f/1.8 S Lens $799.99

Nikon AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED Lens $899.99

Nikon NIKKOR Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S Macro Lens $999.99


Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens $125.00

Canon RF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens $199.99

Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Lens $399.99

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens $419.99

Canon RF 85mm f/2 Macro IS STM Lens $599.99

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM Lens $1,299.99

Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM Lens $1,399.99

Canon RF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM Lens $1,399.99


Sony FE 50mm f/1.8 Lens $249.99

Sony FE 50mm f/2.5 G Lens $599.99

Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 Lens $599.99

Sony FE 50mm f/2.8 Macro Lens $549.99

Sony Sonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA Lens $999.99

Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS Lens $1,099.99

Wide Angle Lenses

Back-lit wide angle lens shot of zombies.
Back lit and wide angle! These zombies are looking pretty convincing!

Wide angle lenses are often given a hard time when considered for portrait photography. Generally speaking, wide angle lenses should not be used to take photos of people -- as the lens makes the subject's proportions wider. Faces look bloated, arms/legs are elongated, and oftentimes, you'll also see a fisheye effect (pinching in the corners, bubbling in the center of the image). For this specific event, wide angle lenses should absolutely be used.

Wide angle lens photo of a zombie actor
Sample photo of the fish eye effect.

Here are some recommended wide angle lenses for under $1,500:


7artisans Photoelectric 7.5mm f/2.8 II Fisheye Lens for Nikon Z $139

Nikon NIKKOR Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR Lens with UV Filter Kit $299.99

Nikon AF-P DX NIKKOR 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6G VR Lens $309.99

Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-50mm f/4-6.3 Lens $399.99

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 28mm f/1.8G Lens $699.99

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24mm f/1.8G ED Lens $749.99

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 20mm f/1.8G ED Lens $799.99

Nikon NIKKOR Z 24mm f/1.8 S Lens $999.99

Nikon NIKKOR Z 20mm f/1.8 S Lens $1,049.99

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 16-35mm f/4G ED VR Lens $1,099.99

Nikon AF-S Fisheye NIKKOR 8-15mm f/3.5-4.5E ED Lens $1,249.99

Nikon NIKKOR Z 14-30mm f/4 S Lens $1,299.99 Canon

7artisans Photoelectric 7.5mm f/2.8 II Fisheye Lens for Canon EOS-M $125

7artisans Photoelectric 7.5mm f/2.8 Fisheye Lens for Canon EF-M $139

Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM Lens $149.99

Canon EF-M 22mm f/2 STM Lens (Silver) $249.99

Canon RF 16mm f/2.8 STM Lens $299.99

Canon EF-M 11-22mm f/4-5.6 IS STM Lens $399.99

Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM Lens $1,099.99

Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye USM Lens $1249.99


7artisans Photoelectric 7.5mm f/2.8 II Fisheye Lens for Sony E $139

Sony E 16mm f/2.8 Lens (Silver) $249.99

Sony E 20mm f/2.8 Lens $349.99

Sony FE 28mm f/2 Lens $449.99

Sony FE 24mm f/2.8 G Lens $599.99

Sony Sonnar T* E 24mm f/1.8 ZA Lens $799.99

Sony E 10-18mm f/4 OSS Lens $899.99

Sony FE 20mm f/1.8 G Lens $899.99

Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS Lens $1,349.99

Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM Lens $1,399.99

Make Sure You Have the Right Lighting!

Zombies with green gel flash
Zombies with green LED lighting

The right lighting is key to having a successful shoot! At the Zombie Walk, you should experiment with all types of lighting that you may have, especially with colors. Just like in the movies, colors can make or break a scene, depending how they are being used. In the example above, the green color just adds to the eeriness of the zombies. The ambient warm lighting you can see in the background is a fun clash with the cool tones of the lime-green on the zombies. There are two methods of lighting that are portable that we recommend: Portable LED lights or a speed lite flash. For this article we will focus on LED lights.

Photo of zombie with and without lighting
No LED vs LED lighting

LED Colored Lighting

Why do we prefer them?

LED lighting is preferred for event like these as they are portable and easily pocketable. You can manipulate the angles at which you use them, and they are easily adjustable with little guesswork involved. Plus, most LEDs are rechargeable on-the-go.

The ProMaster Small Block is a tiny, rechargeable, weather-resistant LED light. The Small Block offers a beautiful 5600K daylight color balance and at maximum power, this tiny light puts out an impressive 325 lux at 1 meter. The Small Block button controls the power and changes between 4 available brightness settings. At maximum power, the integrated, rechargeable battery provides 60 minutes of runtime. Because there are no hatches or openings anywhere on the Small Block, it is resistant to dirt, dust, and water (fully submersible up to 33 feet). This is a full kit, not just a light. It includes a soft white diffuser, cold foot, filter holder & set of color filters, snoot, barndoors, honeycomb grid, and a storage case for everything. Available for $59.99

The RGB 152 light is perfect for both photographers and videographers alike. The RGB Mode has 360 colors, with a wide spectrum hue control along with a 10-100% brightness control. The smartphone app for the light allows the unit be operated remotely. Additionally, there are 37 special effects including pulse, strobe, fade and multiple scene modes. The built-in rechargeable Li-Ion battery offers up to 2 hours of run time.

Enjoy Yourself!

Take plenty of photos and don't be afraid to dress up! Keep an eye on the weather as Octobers are notoriously cold and rainy. Pick up a rainsleeve if you think it may rain.

Enjoy this gallery of photos from our 2019 Zombie Photo Walk