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.
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!
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!).
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.
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!
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.