As a parent you probably spend a lot of time making or picking out the perfect Halloween costumes for your kids. Or if you are like me, you spend a lot of time getting several costumes as my six year old has a bad habit of changing her mind at the last minute! And as a parent all you really want are a handful of great pictures of your kids in their outfits. From experience, I know my kids typically have other ideas on Halloween. They are excited to get their trick or treating on and getting them to cooperate on Halloween is usually frustrating for both me and them. But, with a little planning Halloween pictures can be fun and painless for both you and your kids!
Before the big night I like to do a dress rehearsal of my kids in costume. We make sure that everything fits, isn’t itchy, and looks great. To make it extra fun we do full hair and makeup to go with the costume. I set the expectation before we start that I want to do a few pictures to make sure everything looks just right. My kids are usually just excited to have the opportunity to wear their costume so they are more than happy to oblige.
Get Them Involved
I love when my kids are excited about their Halloween costumes because I know that means they will be excited about their pictures. I like to include them in brainstorming about where they’d like to take their pictures. If they are excited about the pictures they will be a more willing participant and it will be more fun for everyone involved. Help them get into character and that will show in your pictures.
When Brayden was Harry Potter I knew I wanted to capture him flying on his broom. I loved the idea of him nonchalantly reading his book in his room.
To get this shot Brayden had to kneel on a stool (which was later edited out) and it took some patience for me to get it just right. However, he was happy to help me because I shared each step with him and let him even help me Photoshop the image. The more kids are involved the more willing they will be to go along with it even if it takes some time!
The Right Light
The best part about doing a dress rehearsal is you can plan it around the right light. By the time I feed my kids and get them ready on Halloween, it’s usually dark. I love shooting about an hour before sunset for that beautiful, golden Fall light.
And if your kids are ready to trick or treat before the sun goes down let them go to a neighbors house so you can capture them before the sun goes down.
Include the Whole Family
The only thing better than getting to dress up and be silly is getting to dress up and be silly with your whole family. It is so fun for kids to have their parents participate and be in character with them. We don’t do this every year, but it is always a hit with the kids when we do. It shows them that you care about what they care about and is a great opportunity to boost their self confidence. Ask a friend to come along to snap a couple of pictures so you can be in them or bring a tripod with a remote shutter. The family Halloween pictures are always work, but I love looking back on them!
And don’t forget to include pets!
Get Them Moving
When my kids were younger I quickly learned that attempting to have them stand still and smile at the camera was frustrating. The more I got them moving the more fun they had and the more genuine smiles I got. Have them run, jump, twirl. Anything to get their mind off of taking pictures.
And enlist the help of older siblings to get younger kids to follow directions. They love feeling like big helpers!
Leave the Big Camera at Home
Since I get most of my pictures out of the way before Halloween I opt to leave my big camera at home on the big night. I always have my phone on me to capture any in the moment pictures. And I really love to capture video on Halloween. It’s so fun to look back and hear your kids voices and excitement.
If you do opt to bring your big camera, turn off the flash and look for available light such as street lights or porch lights. Don’t be afraid to bump up your ISO to allow more light in and having a prime lens where you can open the aperture (smaller F stop number) to allow more light in helps as well!
Let’s be totally honest though. I really love to leave my big camera at home so I have two free hands to steal Halloween candy out of my kids bags!
Have a safe and happy Halloween!