Halloween is just around the corner. The older I get, the more I enjoy it. It's such a great time to get out and interact with the neighbors, see all those cute kiddies in their costumes and enjoy a glass of cider and a roaring fire. I also love the excitement of my own children as they make plans with their friends, don their costumes and head out for an evening of fun. Finally, it can be a great opportunity to get some fun images of your kids. Here are some tips on how to capture those Halloween snapshots.
1. Get an idea. Whether you are a seasoned pro or an amateur just looking to capture some fun photos of your family this is a great time to be creative and have some fun. If you are lost for an idea, you can always search the internet or Pinterest. Just make sure you have an idea of what you want in your head before you head out. Otherwise, you might end up with the same old front porch photos. Don't get me wrong, I love those photos. I always take one of all my kiddos on the porch before they head out. It is nice have a little variety though.
2. Don't wait until the last minute. Let the kids dress up before Halloween, then find somewhere fun to take pictures. I like to do it a few days before and it gives me a chance to do a "trial run" before the big day. Maybe your kid was invited to a party, or like my daughter wants to wear their costume all the time. You can use those opportunities to take some photos as well. If possible, choose a location that will compliment your child's costume. Let your kids get into character and strike a pose. Ask them to act the part, cast a spell or do their favorite Ninja kick. It didn't take much to convince my daughter to be Wonder Woman. Be creative and have fun.
3. If you don’t have a chance to take photos ahead of time or just can't find the perfect location, you can easily set up a photo studio in your basement (in front of a window), garage or on the porch or covered patio. In one of my photo classes we spent an entire week on porch/garage light. This is because the light is even and soft. Simply hang a sheet or blanket as a backdrop and make sure you are not blocking the light. It is best to do this while the light outside is still good.
Above: Porch light. Below: Window light
4. Head out early. Your kids probably aren't going to complain if you start trick-or-treating a little early. Try timing it so you're starting about half an hour before sunset. The light will be warm and soft. Longer shadows will help create the "mood." Avoid using your flash. Remember that you want your photos to look creepy and mysterious. Harsh bright light will negate the look you are going for. If you have to use a flash, try diffusing or bouncing the light.
5. Get a new perspective. Try taking pictures from different angles. Use a shallow depth of field.
6. Zoom in. Get a close up of that sweet or spooky face. Made-up faces look great at close range and give you a great shot of all the details. You can also focus on other details, like princess shoes and werewolf hands.
7.Embellish with overlays and effects. They can also serve to hide less desirable photo elements. Black and white photos can add an extra layer of mystery. I am not into heavy editing, but it's Halloween after all, so don't be afraid to have a little fun.
8. Use alternative light sources. Flashlights, glow sticks, candles, firelight all make for spooky and interesting shots. Just be sure to adjust your ISO and shutter speeds accordingly.
9. Record the aftermath. Chocolate faces, candy on the floor, Dad s̶n̶i̶t̶c̶h̶i̶n̶g̶ checking the candy, that sleepy trick-or-treater clutching their bag of loot.
10. Don't worry about perfection. If nothing else, it is supposed to be fun, so just go with it and enjoy the moment. This is especially hard for me, because I feel like everything is a commentary on my work. But sometimes I just have to let go and enjoy the moment for myself and my kids.