Each year I have these grand ideas of capturing something totally spooky or fantasy-filled on Halloween Night. In our village, Halloween is a big deal. Read: A very BIG deal.
But, unfailingly each year, my grandiose plans fail. Here’s why. Just as with all things kid-related, the kids are the ones running the show. And, on a day that is built for imagination and a little bit of mischief, fun is what’s in order…not mommy demanding the kids stand here or look there. Though, let’s be honest, I almost never dictate my kids’ movements. But, that’s just because my style is more go with the flow.
That being said, I want to have a few captures that not only speak to me as a mom, but also as an artist. It’s not as hard as it might seem.
Halloween is filled with so many small moving parts. The face paint, the hands held out for candy, the candle in the pumpkin, the hand holding as it gets dark, the little princess shoes, the superhero cape fluttering in the wind (or if you’re my daughter, the sparkles from her blue fish costume). The details are the answer to why we celebrate each year. Because of sweets. Because we get to stay up a little past our bedtimes. Because we get to play dress-up. Because it’s fun.
2. Capture the In-Between Moments.
Trick or Treating isn’t just about knocking on a neighbor’s door. It’s about those little steps we take as we try something new, and go somewhere different. One of my favorite photographs of my two crazies (ever!) was taken two years ago on Halloween. It was their first time Trick or Treating (at 3.5!) – the first year they were too tiny, the second year we had a freak snow storm, the third year, there was a hurricane. Let’s just say they were overdue.
At any rate, they were unsure and a tiny bit nervous. This was their adventure that night in one adorable nutshell. Clinging to each other, looking back to make sure we were still accounted for, but still moving forward. Candy! Make sure you shoot more than just that knock on the door. Photograph those in-between moments that show more honest &emotive expressions.
You can also play with intentionally making your image out of focus (OOF). Especially for a day like Halloween, OOF images have such a sense of magic and mystery about them. It’s beautiful! But, make sure you have some light to bounce around inside your frame, if you do this.
3. Change Your Perspective!
It’s so incredibly easy to park ourselves either in front of or behind our kids on Halloween. But, frankly, it’s boring. Mix it up. Try shooting from above. Move to the side of them. Shoot from below. Experiment with how you view them. Changing up our perspectives also helps to emphasize the difference of that one night. It’s quirky, and fun, and a little bit weird. Sometimes, it’s okay to get weird 😉 Here, I was laying on the ground, to get a sense of the space and also catch the movement of his octopus tentacles that were bouncing around his feet. And, don’t think that my laying on the ground is limited to our yard. I’ve been known to be found laying down in the street to catch the same shot. Luckily, I haven’t been run over yet 😉
4. Embrace the Shadows!
This last might seem obvious. I mean, it’s dark. Duh. But, I think our natural tendencies are to expose our subjects so that they are more brightly illuminated. (Usually, not always). But, if there was ever a day/night of the year that called for truly embracing the shadows, Halloween is it! If you’re shooting in manual, try exposing for the highlights of your image, rather than your midtones. If you’re not shooting in manual, don’t avoid those areas of your walk that seem too dark. Experiment! Part of the fun, is the mystery of something unexpected (though hopefully not too scary) peaking out from the dark. In this case, it was a mischievous tree frog in the park, and a sparkly blue fish 🙂
Above all, though, have fun! Enjoy these moments with your children and their little friends. It’s adorable and funny and exciting all rolled into one. But, God help us all when they find where we’ve hidden the candy stash!
Joyful & Honest Rockland County Photographer
Gina specializes in modern & emotive family imagery. By focusing on the relationships of parents and their children, she is able to go beyond the standard pose and capture the true emotion of her clients’ relationships. Visit the Session Info page for more details.