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Halloween photography

Written by Gail Bjork

Give yourself a treat. Here are some sweet tricks to take treasured photos of children at Halloween using a digital camera.

Pumpkin PatchHalloween provides a wonderful opportunity to take a fun-filled photos of children! To get great shots, follow these simple digital photography tricks. Several tips apply to photographing adults as well a children.

Capture facial expressions

One of your goals when taking Halloween photos should be to capture a child’s facial expressions. So photos look more natural, take some photos when a child is unaware that the camera is pointing his or her way. Catch the children doing something, not simply posing.

Photograph at eye level

For close-ups, photos taken near or at the eye level of a child can be more pleasing than those taken when standing high above him or her. Change the shooting angle too for more varied shots.

When photographing two or more children, have the youngsters stand close together. Take several shots since capturing pleasing facial expressions on everyone in a group photo can be challenging.

Fill the frame

Let your subject fill the frame as it helps eliminate distracting backgrounds by focusing on the child. Another benefit of filling the frame is that you will capture more detail in a child’s face and costume.

Illuminating the subject

When using a flash and to get the best exposure, stay within the flash range specified in the user manual. Don’t stand too close or too far away from your subject to avoid either over- or under-exposure.

Start with a fully charged battery as it can improve flash recycle time. Remember that a flash may recycle slowly, so prefocus whenever you can by pressing the shutter button halfway and watching the indicator to know when the flash is ready. With built-in camera flashes, you usually have to wait several seconds before the flash is fully recycled an ready to take the next photo.

Avoid taking shots with shiny objects in the background, such as high-gloss furniture, mirrors and windows. They reflect the bright light back into the lens and can ruin a photo.


Using the built-in camera flash outside

Many people never think to use their camera flash outdoors. If it is bright outside and a child is standing in the shade, such as under a porch or tree, it is a perfect time use fill-in flash to bring facial features and other details out of the shadows.

At night, when the background is dimly lit, use slow-sync flash to capture the background while keeping the foreground properly lit. Hold your camera steady or use a camera support when using slow-sync flash.


Taking Halloween pictures inside

When you don’t want to use a flash inside, turn on rooms lights for additional illumination. You may have to increase the ISO, but try not to raise it too high unless your camera has a sensor that does well in low light.

Once again, to help eliminate camera shake resulting in blurred images, use a tripod or hold your camera steady by resting it on a table or steadying it on fence.

When taking photos around artificial light, adjust the white balance to match the predominant lighting in the room. Watch the LCD as you change white balance settings to select the one that gives you the most pleasing and realistic colors.

On the other hand, capture some cool, eerie effect and color casts by using incorrect white balance settings. When done taking photos, remember to set the setting back to auto white balance.

Use a baby handler

If a child is very young, consider using an assistant such as a family member or friend. The assistant, or baby handler as often called by pro photographers, can adjust the the room lighting and help keep the child smiling and from wiggling out of view.

The handler often stands behind the photographer, using fun techniques to get children to look towards and smile into the camera. They make funny faces, move their arms, hold the child’s favorite toy in view or try other creative techniques to capture the child’s attention.

Wee Westie Watching for Tricksters

Don’t forget the jack-o-lantern

If you photograph a jack-o-lantern, make sure to turn off the camera flash. Place more than one lit candle in the pumpkin to increase the glow. Lock focus and exposure on the pumpkin by depressing the shutter button halfway down before fully pressing it.

Photo credit (Creative Commons): Wee Westie Watching for Tricksters by Randy Robertson

About the author

Gail Bjork

Gail Bjork, who is passionate about digital photography, is the owner and editor of Digicamhelp.Gail is the author of three illustrated ebooks about digital photography. A number of her photos and digital photography related articles appear at other websites.In 2006, a series of her photos, People in the Louvre, were exhibited at the Underground Photo Gallery
in Iisalmi Finland. Eight of her photos taken in the Florida scrub are on permanent exhibition at Parrish Medical Center in Titusville, Florida.Gail served twelve years as an elected member of The School Board of Palm Beach County, Florida, one of the largest school districts in the U.S. She has also been the editor of a small town newspaper and a free-lance writer. Gail and her husband owned and ran several small businesses.

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