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Kids Halloween Costume Photography Tips and Ideas

Updated on July 17, 2013

Halloween Photography Tips

Halloween photos are sweet autumnal souvenirs of childhood. They are full of color, candy crazed kids, and creative costumes. Learn essential tricks to make these photos into treats that would be enjoyed for a lifetime.

Halloween Pictures Ideas

Using downtown, Ann Arbor, Michigan, as a beautiful scenery for Halloween photos.
Using downtown, Ann Arbor, Michigan, as a beautiful scenery for Halloween photos. | Source

Easy Halloween Photo Tips

  • Make sure you have enough lighting. Do not wait till it is dark to take your photos. Having enough light will help ensure a clearer photo.
  • Photos taken in low light need a steady photographer and a still subject. Children on candy highs and excited for Halloween are rarely still.
  • Do not wait for Halloween. The whole month of October pretty much gives a sense of freedom to wear costumes, especially for kids. Take advantage of the whole October month by dressing your kids up in their costumes and taking their Halloween photos on non-Halloween days. Then you are not pressured on Halloween.
  • Take many shots. A digital camera allows you to take as many shots as you like without a cost to film. You can always delete the pictures you do not like.
  • Take pictures from different angles. Sit on the ground, or lay on the ground and take a shot looking up at your child. Stand on something and take a photo looking down on your child.

Halloween Photo Tips Video

Halloween Photos Taken in the City

Dressing children up and having them walk around their city provides wonderful adorable Halloween photo opportunities.
Dressing children up and having them walk around their city provides wonderful adorable Halloween photo opportunities. | Source
City downtowns have their own unique backgrounds to Halloween costumes.
City downtowns have their own unique backgrounds to Halloween costumes. | Source

Photograph Halloween Costumes in Your Town

Whether you live in the country or near the city, there are plenty of Halloween photo opportunities in your immediate area.

Here are some ideas on taking Halloween photos in a town:

  • Dress your children up, and walk around downtown. Visiting coffee shops, toy stores, the bank or the bakery enables you to snap adorable photos of your children interacting with their city. Most of these shops have Halloween and fall decorations.
  • Go to a nearby park, and take photos of your children with the majestic trees turning colors.
  • Go to a local grocery store, if you are in the heart of the city, and do not live near a pumpkin patch. They usually have an amazing pumpkin display in the front of their store. After you take your photos you can crop them and people usually do not know you took the photos at a grocery store.

Here are some ideas on taking Halloween photos in the country:

  • Go to a pumpkin patch. Of course pumpkin patches are amazing places to take Halloween photos.
  • Go to a farm. Barns, hay barrels, the country landscape are all beautiful traditional fall back drops.

Pumpkins are Great Halloween Props

Using a pumpkin as a prop and also to show size of the child.
Using a pumpkin as a prop and also to show size of the child. | Source

Halloween Props

The toddler in a little read wagon gives a reference to how small he is.
The toddler in a little read wagon gives a reference to how small he is. | Source

Use Halloween Props

Pumpkins, Jack-o-laterns, and other Halloween decorations are great backgrounds for photos. They also give reference to size.

Here are some ideas on taking Halloween photos using props:

  • Use Pumpkins. For babies and toddlers, placing pumpkins near and around them helps reference how small they are.
  • Use Halloween decorations. Go to a local pumpkin patch or pumpkin festival, they usually have amazing props and decorations.
  • Add props that match the theme of their costumes. If your child is a fireman, find a fire hydrant to take your Halloween photo.

Photograph Kids Trick-or-Treating

Taking pictures of kids Trick-or-Treating is a fun way to capture Halloween photos.
Taking pictures of kids Trick-or-Treating is a fun way to capture Halloween photos. | Source

Halloween Photos and Doors

Front doors are a great background for Halloween photos.
Front doors are a great background for Halloween photos. | Source
Photos of kids inspecting their treats and Trick-or-treating are great action shots.  Just make sure there is enough lighting.
Photos of kids inspecting their treats and Trick-or-treating are great action shots. Just make sure there is enough lighting. | Source

Photograph Kids Trick-or-Treating

The majority of Halloween is spent going door to door eagerly anticipating candy while dressed up. My favorite Halloween background is my neighbor's doors and porches. Some people spend a lot of time and money decorating their house for Halloween. Most neighbors beam if you ask if you can take photos of your children on their porch. They welcome your appreciation for their decorations.

Here are some ideas on taking Halloween photos of kids Trick-or-Treating:

  • Ring the doorbell. Picture your ghosts and goblins ringing the doorbell.
  • Capture the treats. Stand inside the house and take a photo of your kids at the door with their bags open anticipating candy.
  • Capture the glee. Stand on the sidewalk and take photos of children coming away from a neighbor inspecting their candy and eager to go to the next house.
  • Find photo opportunities while you are trick or treating. When you see a house decorated for Halloween that interests you, take photos of your kids on their porch. Most people, if you ask politely, will happily allow you to take photos of your kids on their decorated porch.

Photograph the Back of Costumes

This photo captures the beauty of Tinkerbell's wings and shoes.
This photo captures the beauty of Tinkerbell's wings and shoes. | Source

Halloween Photos from the Back

Take photos of the kids walking down the street.  Look at that October sky, amazing!
Take photos of the kids walking down the street. Look at that October sky, amazing! | Source
Picturing kids Trick-or-Treating is a great back shot.
Picturing kids Trick-or-Treating is a great back shot. | Source

Photograph the Back of Costumes

Halloween is probably one of the times you can take a picture of your children from the back and have an interesting composition. Nowadays, Halloween costumes have phenomenal details on all sides. Sometimes the back of a costume is just as interesting or more than the front. For instance, the photo of my daughter as Tinkerbell above is quite interesting. The wings had a battery back allowing them to flicker. When I took pictures of her from the front I was not able to capture all the fine details of her fairy wings, which were her favorite part of the costume.

Here are some ideas of taking Halloween photos from the back:

  • Have the child do something in their Halloween character. For instance, Tinkerbell is tending to the flowers. I find if you give kids a little bit of direction they are so creative and come up with amazing poses. "Be Tinkerbell."
  • Take a photo of the kids walking down the sidewalk while Trick-or-Treating. This one can be tricky especially if it is after dusk. You, as the photographer, are going to have to stand still since they are moving and in the moment or Trick-or-Treating and do not care about anymore photos.

Let Kids Act out Their Character

Source

Halloween Costumes

Acting as Anakin Skywalker.
Acting as Anakin Skywalker. | Source
Being a Halloween witch.
Being a Halloween witch. | Source
Pulling the sword from the stone, humbly.
Pulling the sword from the stone, humbly. | Source

Photograph Kids Acting in their Halloween Character

Allowing kids to act in their costume can be a fun way to take Halloween photos. Most kids need little direction to do this. Other kids may need encouragement and bribing with Halloween candy. My favorite Halloween shots are when the kids are acting in character.

Here are some ideas of taking Halloween photos from having the kids act in their Halloween character:

  • Give kids permission to act in character. Some kids might be reserved acting in character, because, well, it is not how they should act on the other 364 days of the year. Simply giving them permission to be creative will help loosen them up.
  • Use props to enhance the theme of their costume. See above.
  • Find settings that will enhance the theme of their costume. Example: if your child is dressed like a zombie, find an alleyway or a spooky setting. If your child is dressed like a farmer, find a barn or farm to take the photos.
  • Put make up on. Adding make-up and doing their hair in character helps them feel like they are becoming their chosen costume.

My favorite Halloween photos are when my kids are acting in their Halloween character. I particularly favor the ones of my son being a Knight. For his knight photos, we went to a local farm. At one point we even had him riding a horse in his knight costume.

I also like the photo of my daughter to the right when she was about 3 putting a 'spell' on me.

Take a Close Up

Take close up photos of your children's faces.
Take close up photos of your children's faces. | Source

Close up Halloween Photos

Source
If your child is wearing a mask ask them to put it on their head, or take a photo of them pulling it on.
If your child is wearing a mask ask them to put it on their head, or take a photo of them pulling it on. | Source

Zoom in on their Face

By now you have probably taken a dozen full body Halloween photos. A few photo shoots where you zoom in on your child's face can also create beautiful Halloween pictures.

Taking the opportunity to zoom in on your child's face will also be a keepsake of how small they were on this particular Halloween. Kids change so fast.

Here are some ideas of zooming in on your child's face:

  • Get close to your child. Do not rely solely on the zoom feature on your camera.
  • Get down. Bend down on your knee or lower yourself to their height.
  • If your child is wearing a mask, take a picture of your child putting their mask on, or resting their mask on top of their head. This allows you to capture their face at the same time the mask they will be wearing.
  • Get plenty of light. Try to take close up photos when there is plenty of light. The flash can wash out someone's face and add unnecessary glare to your picture.
  • Zombies do not smile. When you photograph your child for Halloween they do not always have to smile. Some of my favorite Halloween shots are when they do not smile but still look very enduring. Ask your child to try to match the mood of their costume with their facial expression.

Use Photo Editing

With a photo editing software, I was able to add the water making it look like my daughter was water bending like Katara from The Avatar, The Last Air Bender.
With a photo editing software, I was able to add the water making it look like my daughter was water bending like Katara from The Avatar, The Last Air Bender. | Source

The Avatar, Aang and Katara

Source

Edit Your Halloween Photos

In the above photo my daughter dressed like Katara from The Avatar: The Last Airbender. Katara has the gift to bend or control water. For this photo I placed her near water and asked her to act like Katara bending water.

I uploaded the photo into a digital scrapbooking software program and added the water droplets to make it look like she was actually bending water.

Here are some ideas on editing your Halloween photos:

  • Enhance the colors. This can often be done easily with the click of a button.
  • Crop. It is always a good idea to crop your photo.
  • Straighten. If your photo is not straight, it is always best to straighten the photo.
  • Add details. If you use photoshop or other photo editing and digital scrapbooking editing software you can add embellisments to your Halloween photos.

Combine Halloween Photo Tips

What do you think?

What Halloween tip would you like to implement this Ocotber?

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Combine Photography Tips

Combining the above Halloween tips will ensure you have fantastic Halloween photos this year.

In the above picture I combined several Halloween photography tips.

  • Took the photo in daylight
  • Used a pumpkin for a prop
  • Took a picture of the back of a costume
  • My son and daughter acted in character
  • I edited the photo to enhance the colors

© Copyright Carly Sullens 2013. All Rights Reserved.


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    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      I'll definitely be taking pics of the backs of kids costumes. What a great idea and the backs are often as good as the front. Useful hub.

    • kansasyarn profile image

      Teresa Sanderson 4 years ago from Rural Midwest

      Beautiful hub, Carly. Thanks for all of the great ideas!

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      A wonderful hub; so interesting and very useful Voted up ,across and shared.

      Eddy.

    • NornsMercy profile image

      Chace 4 years ago from Charlotte, NC

      This is so cool. I can't wait til Halloween (and to take Halloween pictures, of course!) :D

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      I was not expecting such a comprehensive article. You've covered everything here! Such a great resource for parents will hang onto for many years of photographing Halloween with their kids.