How to take great Halloween photos of your kids

“Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn and caldron bubble”

With Halloween just round the corner, it’s the perfect time to get the camera out, whether that’s your big camera or your phone camera - this fun time of year is brilliant for capturing some special memories. And as lovely as it would be to have a professional family photographer to document every fun event in our lives, I thought I’d share my top tips on how to capture the Halloween spirit yourself!

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  1. Start early - take pictures before it’s dark and before you go out. After they’ve been out trick or treating, they are likely to be cold, tired and desperate to check out their haul, so grab your photos whilst they are keen and also you’ll get the best time of day, just before the sun sets. In fact, the moment the sun sets can lend itself really well to dramatic pictures and darker moods! Or if you know they are going to be particularly hyper with the excitement on Halloween, why not have a dress rehearsal in their costumes and get your snaps the day before.

  2. Get in close - you get more drama when you get in close, and what is halloween if not a time for a bit of spooky drama!

2. Get in close and fill the frame!

2. Get in close and fill the frame!

3. Get a full length photo taken at eye level.

3. Get a full length photo taken at eye level.

3. Start at their eye level (and prepare to feel like its been squat day at the gym). Photos at the eye level of the subject will have a much better perspective and the proportions will be more accurate. Plus that way you get the whole costume in!

4. Stay clear of distracting backgrounds - you want the whole focus to be on them and their costumes. That pile of washing on the sofa, or the wellies by the door, will only distract from your picture. If you want a laugh look on instagram at pullback photos that show the behind the scenes of lots of mother photographers and bloggers! I can tell you there was definitely a pile of clean washing moved out the way for these pumpkin shots. Same goes for their trick or treat bags, they won’t lend themselves to the effect of the costume.

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5. Capture the details - having said, leave the trick or treat bag to the side, once you’ve taken your pictures of their costume, focus on the details, like their little hands holding their bag. Those hands won’t be little for long so grab a shot of them hanging on to their prized bag or the pumpkin they loved carving! Especially if they have chosen their costume, they’ll love looking back when they are older at what the wore in their childhood. Even if they did request face painting and throw mummy in at the deep end with zero skills!

5. Little hands and a big pumpkin.

5. Little hands and a big pumpkin.

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6. Let kids be kids - play pictures will be much more fun and yield big authentic smiles. Let them be the character they have chosen - bring on the growls, sword fights, twirls and leaps! When we went out for these photos it was cold! This one was really feeling the nip in the air, but when I told her to pretend to be a cat, all thoughts of being cold went out the window and she was off, running around and miaowing to her heart’s content!

7. Change up your perspective

7. Change up your perspective

7. Change up your perspective - when you take your photo, think about what would happen if you moved slightly. To the side, from above, from below - different angles can add a lot of interest to a photo.

8. Think about your light - the room we were carving our pumpkins in isn’t very bright, however there is a really big window on one side. So I parked myself in front of the window and snapped away from there. It meant they always had the maximum amount of light on them and I wasn’t battling the large window and dark room contrast. If you are outdoors look for open shade. This means you want to be standing outside the shade and have your subject in the shade but not under the object casting the shadow. This way the light will be even but not dark and no one will be squinting into the sun. If you are feeling really creative and you have the pleasure of a sunny evening, then you can shoot into the sun for some beautiful backlighting. Number one tip for this is to make sure there are trees or another object filtering the light so you’re not shooting directly into the sun.

9. Rule of thirds - thinking about how you compose your picture and what you put in the frame will change the impact of the picture hugely. Front and centre doesn’t always make the most interesting photo. On close ups it’s great, and it can be impressive on a really expansive image, but the rule of thirds is a very easy trick to take your pictures to the next level. Imagine there is a grid on your picture dividing it into boxes, with two lines vertically and two lines horizontally, all equally spaced. By placing your subject on one of these vertical lines, and their eyes on the horizontal line, you will have a great composition to your photo and the negative space will really help to draw the eye to the subject.

9. Rule of thirds.

9. Rule of thirds.

10. Sit back and watch - it’s so easy to get caught up in taking the perfect picture - will it be instagram worthy, does everyone have the perfect expression. When you sit back and just watch them play, learn, create, children give us everything and more. So enjoy a moment of still (rare in our house) and watch them and the photo opportunities will be plentiful, right in front of you!

We are really looking forward to Halloween next week (I say we, but the little man is not a fan of dressing up so he’ll be rocking some skeleton PJs) and dressing up again after tonight’s Halloween disco at the school. What are your favourite images to get at Halloween? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below!