Halloween Photography Tips and Tricks

October is one of the busiest months for photographers. It's finally the season for sweater weather when the temperature gets colder and the leaves start to change colors. It's the perfect time to capture family photos, landscapes, and portraits with the fall foliage out on display. When you think of October, you also think of Halloween. October is spooky season, so we are going to let you in on some tips, tricks and maybe some treats on how to take the best photos this Halloween.

Participate in Fall Activities

Take the opportunity to visit local pumpkin patches. Make sure to take candid photos of friends and family experiencing the festivities. Take advantage of the spooky decorations or fun props set up around the farm. For families with small children, look for moments to capture them exploring, picking out a pumpkin, or interacting with family. Look for opportunities that tell a story and try to find the best compositions using those unique elements, like the crop lines in the pumpkin patch.

Tips to Photograph Small Children

When photographing children, sometimes kneeling to get a shot at their level can help capture sweet moments and expressions. If you have a zoom lens, explore with both wide and telephoto shots. Sometimes capturing the surroundings and atmosphere can provide more depth to an image. Telephoto shots are great for portraits and emphasizing your main subject. Great prime focal lengths for portraits would be either a 35mm, 50mm, or 85mm. 

Kid holding a pumpkin at a pumpkin patch

During golden hour, try to capture photos of your subjects backlit with the sun behind them. This type of photo can provide a soft glow and almost look angelic. Try to avoid direct sunlight on your subject's face to avoid squinty eyes and harsh shadows. Look for areas with shade and place your subject at the edge of where the shade begins. Since small children are typically less likely to stay still, shoot at a shutter speed higher than 1/125th of a second.

Great Tips for Halloween Night

Halloween Costume Photos

On the night of Halloween, before it gets too dark, make sure to grab a few photos of you and your family in costume. To get a picture of everyone including yourself, use a tripod and set a self-timer. Or, if your camera has Wi-Fi capabilities, get a wireless remote or simply use your phone as your shutter button.

kids on halloween

If you're taking photos of groups, make sure to set your camera to at least F5.6 to make sure everyone is in focus. Another great tip is to make sure everyone is on the same focal plane. For candid Halloween shots of kids trick or treating, stand back and have them walk towards you with their candy bucket.

Best Camera Settings

Dusk or blue hour can be the best light to capture the ambiance of the night. Make sure to open your aperture wide to let in the most light. In addition, your ISO settings can be crucial to make sure you get enough light in your image. Current digital cameras have amazing low light capabilities but for a general rule of thumb, we recommend staying below 6400 ISO for a full-frame camera and 3200 ISO for a crop sensor. Anything above that range might start pushing too much noise or grain in the image.

kid dressed up as ghost for halloween

Slower shutter speeds can also be fun to play with. This is the perfect time to experiment with motion blur or have your subject look like ghosts! All you have to do is use a tripod, set your camera to a slow shutter speed slower than 1/60th of a second and have your subject walk across the frame.

Halloween Lighting

Once it gets dark enough, and there isn't enough light, you'll want to use a flash. When using a flash, be careful not to exclude too much of the background. The Halloween decorations will help add to the overall image. One simple rule to keep in mind when using flash is to expose for the place and light for the face. When you expose for the ambient light, the flash will figure out how much light to use.

two girls eating a sucker in halloween costumes

If you want to forego flash, try using the lighting available. Glow sticks or LED lights can help provide a fun colorful glow. The multicolored lights are perfect ghoul lighting, providing that extra touch for better Halloween photos. Sometimes even street lights or porch lights can be superb lighting for creepy or scary photos.

The Ultimate Pumpkin Shot

Pumpkin carving is a favorite tradition around Halloween, so don't miss the opportunity to take photos of the carved pumpkins all lit up. Set your camera on a tripod to prevent camera shake and get sharp images of the eerie glow from the pumpkins in the night. Most of all, take time to enjoy the night. The photos you capture of friends and family are timeless. So, try some of these Halloween photo tips and no doubt your Halloween pictures will turn out spooktacular this year!

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