Halloween is the time for dressing up, candy and a little bit of spookiness.

Capturing that holiday should be just as fun as it is to participate in. We asked the Click Pros what their best Halloween photography tips were and they more than ever chimed in!

1. Do a test run

Elizabeth Blank suggests having “a Dress Rehearsal a few days before Halloween where everyone gets fully dressed in their costumes so I can check for any wardrobe malfunctions, shoes that cause blisters, etc. Once everyone is dressed, I make it a priority to capture portrait images of my children in costume. The bonus of doing it a few days before Halloween?? You can edit you images ahead of time and have them ready and waiting to post on social media and to send to family and friends on Halloween night. One less thing to stress over the day of!”

picture of three kids dressed up like superheros by Elizabeth Blank

photo by Elizabeth Blank

2. Embody the character

During your dress rehearsal, follow Sonia Bourdon‘s advice of: “Children love to play roles and Halloween is the perfect moment to do so! Wearing a costume makes them feel closer to their favorite characters, so when you photograph your kids at Halloween, encourage them to really embody the character they inhabit. If your kids are younger, be playful with them when it’s the moment to click, you can show them the way by simply acting as their character would do and that way they can imitate you and give you a great moment to capture. It usually gives your images a stronger look and your kids will LOVE the final outcome even more.”

picture of boys dressed up like knights for Halloween by Sonia Bourdon

photo by Sonia Bourdon

3. Carefully choose the location

Your chosen location can make a huge impact in your final images. As Erica Williams states, “capture them in settings that make sense to their costume. It will add a dramatic effect to your images, like this lost little deer in the woods.” While the perfect location may not be possible to get to right before heading out to trick or treat, the previously mentioned dress rehearsal is.

photo of girl in the woods dressed like a deer by Erica Williams

photo by Erica Williams

And sometimes that perfect location isn’t even a possibility for you regardless of how much free time you have. For Kate Luber, she’s the first to suggest a little post processing creativity to create that location. “If you can’t find the perfect location, let a little Photoshop magic fill in the gaps. Find a location that can be easily transformed to match your vision. I looked for some bright plants and a brick sidewalk and changed the colors to match the theme.”

photo of little girl dressed as Glenda the good witch near a yellow brick road by Kate Luber

photo by Kate Luber

4. It’s not all about the costumes

Remember that there’s lots of fun aspects to Halloween other than the costumes. For Meg Nesom, there’s pumpkins. She states, “If pumpkin carving is done in your home then it needs to be documented! I remember growing up and carving pumpkins every Halloween with my family and it was something I was excited to do with my little. Make sure you step back and taken an image of your jack-o-lantern to show off your impressive (or not so impressive) carving skills – also make sure you document your little with your jack-o-lantern. Ideally you’ll be able to look back at Halloween images year and year and see growth of your little and no better way to do that then with a simple portrait to document the holiday.”

jack-o-lantern photo by Meg Nesom

photo by Meg Nesom

If pumpkin carving is a family affair, do like Megan DeShazo and “jump in on the action! Set your camera up on a tripod (or in this case a counter) and jump in the shot. I set the timer, and ran back to continue carving. I wasn’t concerned with the perfect expression or everyone smiling for the camera because I just wanted to capture the true moment.”

pic of family carving pumpkins together by Megan DeShazo

photo by Megan DeShazo

5. Include the pets

A fun trick in Angee Manns and Sarah Keene‘s book is to grab a shot with the family pet. Manns says, “don’t forget the pets! If your pet is willing (even if it’s just for a minute) to wear a bit of your child’s Halloween costume, take the opportunity for a fun photo! It makes a great addition to your scrapbook page for the holiday.”

picture of dog dressed like Harry Potter by Angee Manns

photo by Angee Manns

picture of Dorothy and Toto by Sarah Keene

photo by Sarah Keene

6. The light makes a difference

Light can be very powerful in conveying a certain mood in your photos. Heather Stockett suggests, “Look around your house for some soft window light, and let’s create a dramatic atmosphere. Before we start snapping away, let’s clear away anyway unwanted objects from the background (ie chairs, table) to keep the photo focused solely on your sweet pea. I love side light, so I turn my kiddos parallel to a big window (on his right). I also adore minimalist, black and white photos, and the low light from the window just adds to the scene! And don’t be afraid to bump that ISO way up.”

black and white picture of boy dressed like Captain America by Heather Stockett

photo by Heather Stockett

As for Erin Wagnild, she says to “use the light to help you tell your story! You can use low light to enhance a scary or spooky subject, or take advantage of the earlier sunset this time of year to add beautiful golden light to a fairy princess costume. Artificial light, flashlights, glow lights, and street lights are fun to play around with as well.”

low light and spooky photo of girl ready for Halloween by Erin Wagnild

photo by Erin Wagnild


7. Consider converting to black and white

Cassandra Casley and Jessica Mason both love to convert their spookier images to black and white to further emphasize the creepy factor. Casley explains, “the moodier the edit, the better. This works for anything from decorations to kids in costume.”

photo of a painted pumpkin for Halloween by Cassandra Casley

photo by Cassandra Casley

photo of boy ready for Halloween by Jessica Mason

photo by Jessica Mason

8. Include colors

Yes, black and white may bring out a special something on Halloween images but don’t forget to play with all the vibrant colors everywhere. Tarah Beaven explains, “Halloween is colorful and so are costumes so take advantage and use it purposefully. Look for color-pop opportunities to tie-in your kiddo’s costume to the scene to give your image more impact. Look for complementary colors (colors that are opposite each on the color wheel) and analogous colors (colors that are next to each other on the color wheel).”

boy dressed like Charlie Brown for Halloween by Tarah Beaven

photo by Tarah Beaven

9. Include the masks

Masks are common on Halloween so why not use them to your advantage?! According to Tamryn Jones, “I often find it so difficult to get a shot of my four together. You can guarantee there will always be one who pulls a goofy face and one who refuses to participate. Getting a group shot of your little trick-or-treaters becomes so much easier (and quicker) if they’re wearing masks. No need to try to persuade the grumpy one, no need to be patient with the goofy one and best of all no need for any post-processing head swaps. Just one or two clicks and the job is done.”

pic of kids with their Halloween masks on by Tamryn Jones

photo by Tamryn Jones

10. Get up close

No, not for an spooky factors. Tiffany Kelly makes an excellent point when she says, “It’s common to capture the wide shot of the entire costume, but don’t forget a close-up too. Try to show the details of their costume or their makeup. Halloween is a great time to look back at yearly photos and see how much your kiddos have grown, and you’ll be happy to have a close-up portrait to document the special holiday.”

photo of girl dressed as Dorothy for Halloween by Tiffany Kelly

photo by Tiffany Kelly

11. Use a wide aperture

When you’re actually out trick or treating, it can be easy for your child to disappear into a sea of color and costumes. Lindsey Mix has a simple fix of using a large aperture. “Shooting at a wide aperture is one of the best ways to hide a crowd! This is critical to making your kids stand out in the middle of a crowded parade! This one was shot at f/2.”

pic of kid dressed like Olaf by Lindsey Mix

photo by Lindsey Mix

12. Be an observer

Sometimes just standing back and watching, quickly snapping as moments happen, is the best way to capture the holiday. DeShazo encourages you to “step back and quietly capture the night. No posing, No directions, Just little one’s doing what they do best! I can just hear their little voices in this picture: ‘TRICK OR TREAT!'”

photo of kids trick or treating by Megan DeShazo

photo by Megan DeShazo

Photographing Halloween should be just as fun as it is to participate in. The Click Pros are offering their best Halloween photography tips!

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