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How To Take Great Halloween Photos

By Melissa Summers

I have had varying degrees of luck getting halloween photos of the kids in the past. Usually the evening passes in a blur resulting in shots like this picture of my wound up little devil.
How To Take Great Halloween Photos
I thought it might be worth while, now that we’re exactly half way (!) to halloween to share some Halloween photography tips. My favorite photography newsletter, Photo JoJo published this list of tips last year and surprisingly they’re still relevant today!
How To Take Great Halloween Photos
I think the most important tip they offer is to get your little goblins outside in costume before the sun sets when you’ll still have enough natural light to get shots without the flash to wash out their small faces. As they put it, “The rich, dark colors characteristic of Halloween are essential in setting a spooky mood, so make sure your flash doesn’t overpower them.”

They also suggest using some lighting tricks to get spooky effects from your photos. Try holding a flashlight up at the subjects face to get that ‘Telling A Ghost Story’ effect in your shots. Using the glow of your pumpkin (lit up with safer flashlights rather than candles) to light your subject will also make for a lovely shot.
How To Take Great Halloween Photos
Kodak also has a great 10 item list of things to think about and do to get great Halloween pictures. Some of these tips are general rules for photographing children, like ‘Get Close’. But I love their idea to tell a story with your pictures, showing the entire transformation of your kid into whatever character (hopefully non-licensed) they’ve picked this year.

I also love their idea of using natural light at dusk to create moody (and spooky) silhouettes. Finally, using a long exposure setting, Kodak shows you how to make a double exposed photograph which looks like a ghost photo. Use this method to show my kids a picture of a ‘real’ ghost and I will never forgive you. Ever.

Explore Halloween costumes, crafts, decorations and treats from our archives here.


Melissa Summers
About the Author

Melissa Summers

Melissa Summers was a regular contributor writing Melissa’s Buzz Off.


Melissa Summers was a regular contributor writing Melissa’s Buzz Off.

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  • One additional tip that’s worked for me (especially with small children): put them in front of a mirror. Just stand behind them and at an angle (so that your reflection is not in the shot) and shoot their priceless expressions as they check themselves out in costume.
    Here’s an example from last year:

  • MelissaS

    Oh! I love that idea. So cute!

  • Thanks for the tips! Last year I took 200 photos and got maybe 3 good shots. Why are licensed costumes bad?

  • melissaS

    I just like costumes which don’t rely on television characters, I like it when my kids are a little more creative. It’s just a personal preference.