Tips For Photographing Your Kids On Halloween Or Any Time

Tips

October 25, 2021

It’s Halloween week and I’m guessing your kids have been telling you what they want to dress-up as for months now (and I am sure they have changed their minds 100x since then). Hang in there. I am here to give you some tips on photographing your kids and capture the best Halloween photos no matter if they have 1 costume or 10!

  1. Find good light 
  2. Avoid contrast in lighting from subject to background. 
  3. Focus on the eyes
  4. Get down to their level
  5. Get funny poses and faces (but be ready for the most genuine laugh right after)
  6. Choose a simple background (i.e. wall, front porch, simple greenery)
  7. Composition 
  8. Have fun 
  9. My secret sauce: Engage with them

Every time I see your updates on Facebook or Instagram or you send me an email, I get super excited to see what adventures you have been up to lately. Was it a new job, a new house, are you expecting, your first, second, or maybe even your third child? Did you get a new puppy? Take any fun travel adventures? Did your kids start their first year of school? This got me thinking … obviously, in addition to wanting professional photos you want to be able to take great photos on your day-to-day adventures. So, I wanted to share a few fun tips with you on how to best capture these precious daily moments with your mobile phone. Whether it’s Halloween, travels, your kids first day of school, or a special moment between your family, you’ll want to capture them all. Read more about each of my tips below!

Find the Best Light

Lighting is the most important thing in any photo. The best kind of lighting is soft, natural, diffused light – such as window lighting. The same rules apply for outdoor photos … soft, natural diffused light. The best time of day to shoot is what professional photographers call the ‘golden hour’. Either early morning, just as the sun is coming out, or just before sunset. I understand these situations aren’t always achievable on the go. So, look for soft, evenly shaded areas.

Avoid Contrast in Lighting from Subject to Background

Be aware of your background. If it’s too light or too dark, your subject will get lost. Avoid harsh shadows and shooting the subject facing the sun. This will produce squinting eyes and unwanted shadows. Also beware of too dark of areas. All too often we see subjects being photographed in dark dingy corners where they tend to get lost.

Our eyes can determine both dark and light exposures at the same time, but the camera cannot. Ever have a subject with the beach as the background and either the beach is properly exposed but your subject is too dark or the subject is correct and the beach is blown out? This is because the camera can’t capture what we see with the naked eye. Most mobile phone cameras will capture everything overall and guess at what the best mix will be. This means if you aren’t paying attention, you won’t get the photo you’re aiming for. Try tapping on the main subject to achieve the best exposure. Sometimes, though, even that won’t work. In that case, you’ll need to rethink your background and lighting situation. Look for that open soft shade or window lighting.

Focus on the Eyes

It’s been said that the eyes are the window to the soul. They are also a great part of your subject to focus on when you’re trying to capture them at their best. It’s because the eyes are the most expressive part of the face. Ready take it one step further? Focus on the eye closest to the camera.

Get Down to Their Level

This mostly means squatting and sometimes belly down on the floor. Yup, I’ve built great core and leg muscles this way, lol. But, what you are aiming for is to have the camera eye level to your kids. The littler they are, the lower you go. 

Get Funny Poses and Faces

The #1 rule when photographing anyone is to stay positive and give lots of affirmation that the subject is doing awesome. If your kids are making funny faces, make them back. I promise it will make them laugh and if you’re ready, you’ll capture the perfect smile. Keep it upbeat and positive and you’ll get that emotion you desire. I have to make Aldo sincerely laugh anytime we take a photo, otherwise he looks like a grumpy old man! I do this by any means necessary – being a goof ball, tickles, stupid jokes, whatever – but it works, we manage to get some awesome smiles out of him. Also, remember you don’t always have to smile for portraits!

Simple Background

A simple background is the best way to go. A muted, simple background keeps the photo from becoming too cluttered and messy. Make sure your subject is wearing something that complements the color of the background so that they stand out.

Be sure to look at all details. Is there a trash can or water bottle in the shot? Move it and if you can’t move it come at it from a different angle to avoid it.

Composition

Experiment with different perspectives and cropping. A common mistake is always putting the subject directly in the center of the frame.
 
You don’t have to always center your subject. Learn the rule of thirds. Try an angle from above or below. Set your subject off centered.

Don’t worry if most of your photo is filled with empty space. In professional photography, we call this “negative space” and it’s a great way of making your subject stand out.

Have Fun

This is the most important! Have Fun. Capture the goofy faces, laughing, behind the scenes. Just keep clicking. These make for great memories and capture the true essence of your kids at this stage. Stay calm and relaxed and make it a fun experience for all. If your kids are going wild, let them and then make it a game. I call it one for you one for me. All you need is that split second of a smile! Run with them, make faces with them, but mostly just stay relaxed and in the moment with them! Then they won’t mind taking photos the next time. 

My Secret Sauce: Engage with Them

Photographing children is always a challenge, sometimes even more so when mom and dad are doing it. We recommend getting down on their level. Get low, talk to them, engage with them. Talk to them about their favorite things, games, toys, characters. Ask them questions and watch their eyes light up right before they answer. 

Make them laugh and wait for that perfect expression that best expresses their personalities. This is where you have an advantage, because you know them best. You know that expression right before it happens, so be ready to click.

A lot of times moms want the kids to stand still and smile, that will get you nothing but an annoyed frustrated kid and a fake smile. If you try to force smiles or make them stand stiff and still that’s the look you’ll get. Put them in the right lighting with the right background and let them be them. You’ll know when to capture that perfect moment.

Look at this session from the first image I took of this little boy to the middle and the last. My secret? I got to know him what he liked and wanted to talk about. You have an advantage, you already know as their parent, so talk to your kids while shooting and their smiles will be large and genuine.

You don’t have to be a professional photographer to get great photos…and remember, the best camera you can have is the camera you have with you! Don’t be afraid to experiment. Your mobile camera is digital, so if you don’t like the image you can delete it and try again! You’re going to be an expert at photographing your kids in no time!

Ok! Now for the fun part! I am offering free halloween photos for your family! I thought it would be a fun way to say thank you and to capture those adorable family (or kiddos) costume! 

Here are the details:

When: Sunday, October 31st 2021

Time: 1 HOUR ONLY 4:00-5:00pm 

Where: Moorpark Park (corner of Moorpark and Laurel Canyon) – 12061 Moorpark Street, Studio City, CA 91604

What’s Included: A quick snap of your family or just the kids all dressed up between 4:00-5:00pm. No appointments or scheduling needed, just show up and first come, first serve. I will have 1-3 images back via public online galley that evening so you can share on social media. 

*Please note it will be a public downloadable gallery shared with all that participate and your images may be included on our social media platforms. 

Have questions or want to to chat? I’m always here!

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