Halloween is the time for dressing up, candy and a little bit of spookiness! Capturing that holiday should be just as fun as it is to participate in. Below are some tips to turn your Halloween photography from a trick into a treat!
Do a test run
Try having a “dress rehearsal” a few days before Halloween where everyone gets fully dressed in their costumes (especially with Halloween being on Tuesday this year). Once everyone is dressed, you can capture portrait images of everyone in costume. A bonus of taking the images a few days before Halloween: you can edit the images ahead of time and have them ready to post on Halloween night!
Get into character
When you photograph everyone on Halloween, encourage them to embody the character they’ve chosen. It usually gives your images a stronger look and everyone will love the final outcome!
Carefully choose the location
Your chosen location can make a huge impact in your final images. If you photograph your subjects in settings that make sense to their costume, it will add a dramatic effect to your images. This is another time the dress rehearsal can come in handy! If you can’t find the perfect location, some stock images and a little Photoshop magic in post-production can fill in the gaps.
It’s not all about the costumes
There’s lots of fun aspects to Halloween other than the costumes. For instance, if you like to do pumpkin carvings, that could be a fun activity to document! Make sure you step back and take an image of your jack-o-lantern to show off your impressive carving skills. Also, don’t forget about your pets! If your pet is willing to wear a costume (even if it’s just for a minute), take the opportunity for a fun photo! It makes a great addition to your family photo album.
Light can be very powerful in conveying a certain mood in your photos. Look around your house for soft window light to create a dramatic atmosphere. You can also try minimalist, black & white photos; the low light from the window will add to the scene. You can also use the light to help you tell a story; use low light to enhance a scary or spooky subject, or take advantage of the earlier sunset to add beautiful golden light to a fairy princess costume.
Include the masks
Masks are common on Halloween, so use them to your advantage. Getting a group shot of your little trick-or-treaters becomes so much easier (and quicker) if they’re wearing masks so there’s no need to persuade the grumpy one, be patient with the goofy one, etc. Plus, there’ll be no need for any post-processing head swaps.
Get up close
It’s common to capture the wide shot of the entire costume, but don’t forget a close-up too. Try to show the details of their costume or their makeup.
Use a wide aperture
When you’re actually out trick or treating, it can be easy for your child to disappear into a sea of color and costumes. Shooting at a wide aperture (such a f/2) is one of the best ways to hide a crowd (and will make your kids stand out in the middle of a crowd).
Be an observer
Sometimes just standing back and watching – quickly snapping as moments happen – is the best way to capture Halloween; no posing, no directions, just people having a good time while getting all the candy they can carry!
Make sure that your main purpose of Halloween photos is to have fun! It can be a fun night where you can temporarily become someone else, so embrace it! And feel free to share some of your favorite images in the comments below!