Hello readers of The Caterpillar Years! My name is Courtney and I write a blog called I Watch Them Grow for parents who want to capture the memories of their kids growing up. Heather asked me to share some Halloween photography tips with you, and I’m so excited to be here! Here are some tips for my favorite kind of Halloween photos — the costume photos!
We spend a lot of effort and money picking out or making our kids’ Halloween costumes, and our kids love wearing them! Don’t isolate the fun to just a couple of hours on Halloween. Set aside a little time to take some special Halloween costume photos—your kids will love them as much as you will!
When to Take Halloween Costume Photos
The best time to capture all the details of the Halloween costume, and the kid in it, is during the daylight hours.
1. Take costume pictures before Halloween if you have time, or your if child will already be wearing their costume for another event. That way there’s less stress than the time crunch on Halloween, and the rush for candy.
(Be sure to avoid direct sunlight — as you see here with my first attempt at costume photos, the sunny spots are really bright and distracting.)
2. If you take the photos on Halloween, because there’s elaborate hair and make-up involved or that’s just what works best for you, make sure you take the photos before dusk so you still have enough light.
3. If your costume photos don’t turn out the way you hope, there’s no harm in taking some costume photos after Halloween. Your kids will love to wear their costumes again, and nobody will know the difference 😉
Where to Take Halloween Costume Photos
1. The easiest way to make your child’s costume stand out is to find a plain, neutral background. This could be a hedge in your yard, your garage door, or a blank wall in your home (near a window).
For my baby’s first Halloween, I just sat her on a plain couch facing a large window, and the couch was a neutral background to let her and her costume stand out.
2. If you want to take your Halloween costume photos to the next level, find a location that works with your child’s costume to really play up the role.
An urban backdrop for a superhero, a natural looking habitat for an animal costume — think of a location that matches the costume.
This year my four year old is dressing up as a fairy for Halloween, so we went to a nearby park and took some forest fairy photos.
What Halloween Costume Photos to Take
1. Character photos: ask your child to play their character for some really fun photos. This is usually their favorite part and the photos you get are priceless.
2. Smiling portrait: take some photos without a mask and capture that adorable face. Ask your child to say “trick or treat, stinky feet” or something that will make them laugh, and get photos of their laugh and natural smile. Talk to them like they really are their character, that should bring a lot of smiles.
3. Costume details: get in close and take photos of the little details of the costume and your child. Ask them to stand like a statue while you move around them, clicking away.
How to Take Halloween Costume Photos
If you’re not too familiar with camera settings, this is a quick guide for taking your awesome costume photos.
1. Phone camera: turn off the flash, hold your phone steady by bracing your arms to your sides, and shoot in burst mode so you can pick out the sharpest photos of the bunch.
2. Digital camera on auto: turn off the flash, use the sports mode for the fast action character photos, the portrait mode for the smiling shots, and the macro mode for the detail close-ups.
Now that you’ve read my tips for the best Halloween costume photos of your kids, start making your plan!
Decide when and where you’re going to take the photos. Think about what specific pictures and details you’ll try to get (write them down for reference), and get familiar with your camera settings you’ll use. Have fun and enjoy the memories!
Awesome tips Courtney! Thank you!! The last two years, I’ve managed to get outside around golden hour and get some photos of my girls in their costumes. It makes SUCH a big difference and my girls LOVE seeing those photos of their past costumes.
You can read more of Courtney’s photography tips in these posts: