How to Take Better Photos of Your Kids in Halloween Costumes | A Simple Photo Recipe

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How to Take Better Photos of Your Kids in Halloween Costumes | A Simple Photo Recipe

It’s that time of year again, where everything is covered in spiderwebs (real and fake), black and orange are found everywhere, and you can buy pumpkin flavored everything. Halloween is coming, which means it’s also time to start thinking about costumes and trick-or-treating.

How can you not want to take photos of your kids all dressed up in their costumes? They are so cute and it is always fun to see them take on the persona of their outfit. I want to help you take better photos of your kids in Halloween costumes with this easy to follow “photo recipe.”

To start, make sure you’ve read through my 5 Tips for Magical Halloween Photos, as they will help you as you go to take your photos this year.

I say this in my 5 Tips post and I will say it again here, because I think it might be the most important tip:

Take photos of your kids in costume BEFORE Halloween.

Halloween is too busy and everyone is too excited to get out and start filling their bags (or pillow cases) with candy. By doing your photos before (or shortly after) Halloween, everyone can be more relaxed.

Canon Mark IV, Lens - 135mm f/2L. Settings: ISO 100, Aperture f/2, Shutter Speed: 1/2,500

Canon Mark IV, Lens - 135mm f/2L. Settings: ISO 100, Aperture f/2, Shutter Speed: 1/2,500

Before you pick up your camera set plan ahead. Look at your weather app, find a day with good weather (or at least without rain), and a day when you do not have a ton of other activities planned. Once you’ve figured out a date, start talking it up with your kids. Tell them you want to do a fun adventure in costumes before Halloween. I will even tell my kids they get to practice trick-or-treating with me, so they know a treat may be involved.

Pick Your Location: Now that you have a date and the kids excited, you’ll want to find the perfect location. This could be as simple as your front porch for tradition, or you can step it up by finding an area with beautiful fall color, or that goes along with your kids’ costumes. (Have an Eeyore or Winnie the Pooh? What if you found a spot in a wooded forest? Or went to the beach to give the photos of your Luke Skywalker a more Tatooine feel.) How much you want to go with the theme of your family’s costumes is up to you. I often just love to find a big pile of leaves and use that to show off the season that way.

Now that you’re ready, let’s set up your camera!

Canon Mark IV, Lens - 135mm f/2L. Settings: ISO 100, Aperture f/2, Shutter Speed: 1/2,500

Canon Mark IV, Lens - 135mm f/2L. Settings: ISO 100, Aperture f/2, Shutter Speed: 1/2,500

HOW TO TAKE BETTER HALLOWEEN PHOTOS PHOTO RECIPE:

DSLR Camera Settings: Set your camera to Aperture Priority Mode (turn the dial to “A” or “Av”). This allows you to select a wide open aperture which puts your child as center focus, blurring out that background beautifully. Select an aperture of 3.2 or lower (or as low as your lens will allow you to go). Your camera will select your other settings for you in Aperture Priority mode.

Make sure your flash is turned off. I also suggest turning on continuous shooting mode on your camera to allow you to take several bursts of photos at once to capture those quick movements of your little characters.

Phone Camera Settings: If you’re using your smartphone, put it in Portrait Mode, again to help your subject be the main focus of your image.

Compose Your Photo: The orientation of the photo is completely up to you. For group photos, I prefer to shoot horizontally to allow enough room to show off everyone. Framing the shot horizontal can also help show off your environment (which you spent time pre-picking out!).

Canon Mark IV, Lens - 135mm f/2L. Settings: ISO 100, Aperture f/2, Shutter Speed: 1/2,500

Canon Mark IV, Lens - 135mm f/2L. Settings: ISO 100, Aperture f/2, Shutter Speed: 1/2,500

Capture Your Character: With everything set, now you get to press that shutter! I would take a few photos from far enough away to see the entire costumes, along with a little closer up show their expressions too. As you move closer and further away use prompts to keep the kids interested. Have them shout “trick-or-treat!”

I also like to get them into character. For my family of cops and robbers, I had the big kids act like police officers, blowing their whistles and the robbers trying to run away. This is the perfect time to let them be silly, and just play. I’m sure you’ll find these more playful shots as your favorites.

Canon Mark IV, Lens - 135mm f/2L. Settings: ISO 100, Aperture f/2.5, Shutter Speed: 1/1,600

Canon Mark IV, Lens - 135mm f/2L. Settings: ISO 100, Aperture f/2.5, Shutter Speed: 1/1,600

Bonus - Get in the Frame: Does your entire family dress up? Enlist a grandparent or your husband and jump in the shot with the kids while you’re dressed up. Since you have already set up the camera for them, it is easy for anyone to snap a photo for you. Trust me, you’ll appreciate proof that you were there (and dressed up) too!

SHARE YOUR PHOTOS!: If you try out this photo recipe, I want to see! As you show off your kids in their Halloween costumes, tag #nlptipsshot so I can see and share what you’ve captured!

Canon Mark IV, Lens - 135mm f/2L. Settings: ISO 100, Aperture f/2.8, Shutter Speed: 1/1,600

Canon Mark IV, Lens - 135mm f/2L. Settings: ISO 100, Aperture f/2.8, Shutter Speed: 1/1,600

Safety Note: Please note, while these photos were taken in the road, it was a quiet country road with adult assistance watching for traffic. My kids’ safety was of utmost importance.

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Your Newborn Photo Session Questions Answered | Issaquah Newborn Photographer

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Your Newborn Photo Session Questions Answered | Issaquah Newborn Photographer

When you’re looking for a photographer to document your newborn, I know how questions can be swirling through your head. You’re welcoming this person into your home just a few weeks after giving birth, you want to make sure she’s the right fit for you. Beyond just the easy, do I like this photographer’s work, it’s the more personal questions about the photographer herself and then how will this go.

To help save you time and make you feel at ease, I’ve put together a list of the most frequently asked questions by moms looking to book a newborn photo session with me.

Your Newborn Photo Session Questions Answered, Issaquah Newborn Photographer, Neyssa Lee Photography, Lifestyle newborn photo of newborn baby surrounded by mom and dad

When does my newborn photo session take place?

Babies change so rapidly that first month, so to capture those tiny details before they start filling out, I suggest scheduling within the first two weeks after birth.

However, as long as the session takes place within the first two months, I would still consider the session a newborn session. I get it, recovery can be difficult or just getting into the swing of things with a newborn (and maybe a toddler too) and the thought of getting ready for photos seems overwhelming. Don’t fret, you will cherish the photos of your sweet baby whether they were taken 3 days or 30 days after he was born.

I do not pose your baby unnaturally or require that baby sleep during your session, so a little bit older baby is just as beautifully photographed.

Bonus Tip: Families who book a Fresh 48 session with me often feel a little more relaxed to push out that newborn session to 2-3 weeks allowing them more time to recover and settle in. With those fresh after birth photos already taken, you can rest a little easier. Plus, moms who do a fresh 48 and a newborn session are always surprised by how much their baby has already grown and changed in just a few short weeks.

Your Newborn Photo Session Questions Answered, Issaquah Newborn Photographer, Neyssa Lee Photography,  Photo of newborn baby feet

What happens if I need to change my newborn photo session date?

The most important thing is you and your baby’s health. Should you be scheduled for a newborn session and find someone in your family sick or yourself needing more recovery time, let me know asap. If you’re a day or two away from your session we can always reschedule for a time when everyone is healthy again.

Your Newborn Photo Session Questions Answered, Issaquah Newborn Photographer, Neyssa Lee Photography,  Photo of awake newborn baby

Are you vaccinated? What if you get sick on my session date?

I am fully vaccinated. In fact, I’ve had my TDap with each of my last 3 children (and will have another with my baby due in December closer to my due date).

I also ensure that I am healthy before coming to your home. I do not want to put anyone at risk, so I will always reschedule if I’m sick. I also always wash/sanitize my hands when I first arrive in your home.

Your Newborn Photo Session Questions Answered, Issaquah Newborn Photographer, Neyssa Lee Photography,  Photo of newborn baby boy yawning

What kinds of photos will I get in my newborn session?

This is my favorite question because it gets into the nitty gritty of my work! I take a variety of photos of your family. While I have a basic workflow, your children help dictate the direction of a session. I mean, if your toddler is excited and ready to snuggle with his baby brother right away, we start there. If big sister needs time to warm up, I can focus on mom or dad with baby.

Your newborn gallery will full of images of your family all together, just mom and baby, mom and the kids (if there are older children), dad and baby (and other kids), just baby, siblings. All of your images will be provided in both color and black and white so that you can decide which version is perfect to be displaying in your home.

Your Newborn Photo Session Questions Answered, Issaquah Newborn Photographer, Neyssa Lee Photography, Black and white photo of dad smiling at newborn baby boy

What if I’m not ready when you arrive?

I honestly do not expect everyone to be ready when I arrive. Of course, I don’t mean, don’t try to be ready. However, I know how long a newborn can take to nurse and that you may have a toddler you prefer to dress at the last possible minute.

When I arrive in your home, I spend the first few minutes saying hello to everyone and getting a feel for the space or spaces I will be photographing your family. I will be looking for the best natural light in your home as well as seeing a nursery (if there is one). I will also wash my hands, get my gear out, and be ready to start when you are. Often just baby or baby and dad are ready first and I can begin with them while mom touches up her makeup or tosses on a spit-up free shirt.

Your Newborn Photo Session Questions Answered, Issaquah Newborn Photographer, Neyssa Lee Photography,  Photo of newborn baby on a bed yawning

What should I wear for newborn photos?

I have an entire post dedicated to this topic, so make sure you check out What to Wear for a Newborn Photo Session. There are two most important tips I want you to remember. First, keep baby in a well fitting onesie or sleeper. You may need a newborn or premie sized outfit to fit snugly. However, we don’t want baby drowning in clothing so we cannot see all of those tiny details. Second, be kind to yourself and remember you just had a baby. Keep your outfit comfortable and neutral. I typically suggest mom wear a dark tank with a loose/flowy sweater for overtop.

Each family who has booked a session with me narrow down what to wear. Moms often send me photos of things laid out so that I can give tips and advice. Plus, a bonus of me coming to your home, it’s easy to change right then should your top not feel comfortable that morning.

Your Newborn Photo Session Questions Answered, Issaquah Newborn Photographer, Neyssa Lee Photography, What to wear for newborn photos, Photo of mom and dad loving on newborn baby

Hopefully you found the answers to all of your questions here. Of course, please leave a comment or contact me if you have any other questions. You want to be comfortable with whoever you invite into your home to document this special, fleeting time. I want to help you feel comfortable before I even step foot in the door.

Peek below for a “few” more favorites from this sweet baby boy’s newborn photo session.

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Photo Gift Ideas Your Family Will Love

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Photo Gift Ideas Your Family Will Love

Finding the perfect gifts for your family can feel daunting. Grandparents usually have everything they need, making shopping for them nearly impossible. Do you really want to get your dad another “pullover” this year? (That’s what my dad asks for every year).

There is a better gift that can be enjoyed all year round and last for years to come, the photo gift. When your gift can feature images from your family session, even better. These gift ideas range in size and price, so hopefully you are inspired for everyone on your list this year.

Framed Prints

One of the easiest gifts to give are photo prints from your session. By including a few frames (and even setting up the frames with photos inside) you’re elevating the gift even more. I typically include a few extra prints just in case grandma wants to pick her favorite to feature in her home.

This idea can be rather simple by keeping the frame size to a 5x7 or 8x10, or you can go bigger by getting a larger frame for their walls. Use Thanksgiving dinner as a time to scope out bare spots that could use a nice 16x20 or 11x14 framed print!

Spice up your prints by selecting a colored frame that matches the print or decor.

Spice up your prints by selecting a colored frame that matches the print or decor.

A Family Photo Album

What grandparent doesn’t love showing off photos of their kids and grandkids? Whether you decide to create an album that shows off favorite photos from adventures throughout the year or includes photos from your family photo session that year, your parents (or in-laws) will love it.

If you had a session with me this year, ordering a Grandparent Album could not be easier. Choose from a 5x5 traditional Grandparent Album, replicate your 8x8 album, or go bigger with a 10x10 to 12x12 album to really make a statement. Whichever option you choose, they will love it. (Contact me to order your Grandparent Albums.)

A custom album from your session makes a gift everyone will love pouring through.

A custom album from your session makes a gift everyone will love pouring through.

Custom Metal Photo Ornaments

The metal photo ornaments are one of my favorite little gifts to give. They are small enough they could be used as a gift tag, or stuck in a stocking. The metal ornaments are printed on each side, allowing you to feature two favorite photos. They are also durable, and the only ornament I do not worry about when my kids help to decorate the tree. There are also quite a few shape options, from traditional Christmas tree, star, or bell, to more ornate shapes like Monterey and Windsome.

Again, if you’ve had a family (or newborn) session with me this year, you are able to order custom metal ornaments directly through me. Contact me and I will put together designs for you.

Custom, double-sided metal photo ornament will be a favorite to hang on their tree year after year.

Custom, double-sided metal photo ornament will be a favorite to hang on their tree year after year.

A Photo Wrapped Canvas

If you’ve been following me for a while now, you probably know I LOVE canvases. They are an easy way to make a big statement in your home, with minimal work (no frames to buy, they are ready to hang, easy!).

Whether you’re shopping for your parents, your spouse, or yourself, a canvas is a beautiful gift they will love. Consider a set of (3) 10x10 or 12x12 canvases for an easy wall display in one gift. You could also select a single 16x20 canvas as most people have room somewhere in their homes for this size.

In case you’re looking for inspiration for wall displays, make sure you read Five Tips for Creating Stunning Photo Displays.

Consider a set of 3, 6, of 2x12 canvases for a gift (or for your own wall!)

Consider a set of 3, 6, of 2x12 canvases for a gift (or for your own wall!)

A Family Photo Session

Feature grandma and grandpa in this year’s family photo session, or give them a gift card promising a family session in the spring. This option can work as a 2-for-1 gift. Not only will you get to have family photos done, but your parents will love being included too.

Contact me about gift cards and/or having an extended family photo session.

Get the entire family together and give grandma a family photo session for a gift she will always cherish.

Get the entire family together and give grandma a family photo session for a gift she will always cherish.

The DSLR Basics Photography Workshop

This gift is for the ultimate photo-lover, the photographer within your family. I don’t mean for the professional, but for that person who is always behind the camera snapping photos of family events, everyday milestones, and family vacations. Help them get off auto mode and take beautiful photos they will be proud to show off.

Grab a seat for them (and hey, how about yourself) at the next DSLR Basics Workshop. (Register or give them a gift certificate towards the workshop). Learn more about the workshop on the DSLR Basics: A Photographer Workshop page.

Custom Photo Cards

Who doesn’t love opening mail featuring the beautiful families of our friends and family members? Use photos from your family photo session to show off how much the kids have grown this past year.

Families who have had a session with me this year receive access to my Holiday Card Catalog where they can pick from numerous templates. I put together the card design, customize to fit their needs (need a “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays”? Or maybe you like to include your kids’ ages too? I can help) and even coordinate colors to match the wardrobe in your photos. Plus, your cards will be printed on high quality paper - with several choices, from 100% recycled, to linen, to a smooth fine art - to make your family look gorgeous on everyone’s mantle this year.

Bonus tip: I always order a few extra cards each year so I have easily accessible photos of our family for all of those school projects.

Contact me and we can get started on your holiday card design!

Order custom Holiday Cards for all of your friends and family.

Order custom Holiday Cards for all of your friends and family.

There are so many great gift ideas using your family photos. Check two things off your list year this year when you have your family photographed, document your family while having gifts for family and friends. It’s a win-win. Which is your favorite photo gift idea? Which do you love to receive from your family?

Need help putting together any of these photo gift ideas? I’m happy to help. Contact me using the button below. Let’s make their holiday extra special this year.

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Fresh 48 After a C-Section | Issaquah Newborn Photographer

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Fresh 48 After a C-Section | Issaquah Newborn Photographer

After having four babies and documenting more newborns than I can count, I have seen first hand how every birth is different. My fourth baby had flipped hours before going into labor without my realizing it. I was very surprised to arrive at the hospital for them to tell me I was having a C Section right away.

The recovery from my C-Section was definitely my most difficult birth to recover from, something I was completely blind-sided by. (You use your stomach muscles for EVERYTHING!). I had a Fresh 48 photographer come to document my children meeting their baby brother, and I am so grateful. No, I never left my hospital bed, but the photos are beautiful and telling of that first meeting. Instead of focusing on capturing my kids I could recover, snuggle my babies, and take the moment fully in.

Why do I tell you this story, that may seem horrible and scary? Because I want you to know that if you book a Fresh 48 session with me I understerstand the limitations that you may have, I understand that you are full of hormones, recovering from giving birth, and needing to rest. I have been in your shoes and am completely sensitive to both your baby’s safety and your needs.

resh 48 after a CSection, Neyssa Lee Photography, Issaquah Fresh 48 photographer, Seattle newborn photography, Photo of newborn baby boy in moms arms

A Fresh 48 session after a C-Section allows you a little more recovery time.

This mama booked a Fresh 48 session with me, knowing she was having a scheduled C-Section. With advance notice we decided to have her session the morning following her surgery. She was not only feeling a bit better, but she had time to freshen up a bit. The hospital room had one window in the far corner of the room and we moved a chair by the window where the majority of the session took place.

Of course, if you are not feeling up to getting out of bed (trust me, that was me!), that is okay too. I will use light and angles to show off your sweet new baby in your arms without the entire gallery looking like you are in a hospital bed.

Fresh 48 after a CSection, Neyssa Lee Photography, Issaquah Fresh 48 photographer, Seattle newborn photography, photo of mom and newborn baby in hospital

Fresh 48 sessions allow you to focus on your family while I capture those first meeting moments for you.

We began the session with a few photos of mom, dad, and baby boy. Then big sister arrived and I was able to capture her first impressions as she met her baby brother. As mom moved cautiously and dad assisted their little girl move safely around mom, neither parent had to worry about grabbing their phones to capture their daughter’s excitement. They were both able to be fully present, taking in their new family of four.

Fresh 48 After C-Section, Neyssa Lee Photography, Issaquah fresh 48 Photographer, Seattle newborn photography, Photo of big sister meeting newborn baby brother

Whether your surgery is scheduled or unplanned, you will not regret having these first moments professionally documented.

It may feel like a blur those first few days, or weeks, after you have a baby. You may feel a little foggy from lack of sleep or pain meds, but the joy, the excitement, the emotions of just having a baby are worth documenting. I promise to keep you and baby safe and comfortable all while using angles and light to be flattering for you, creating images you will forever treasure.

Are you expecting? Let’s discuss what a Fresh 48 session can look like for your family.

See more from this sweet family’s Fresh 48 Session that took place one day after a C-Section.

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