1) Make it a game.
This is a trick I use in my professional family sessions, and it’s a favorite! Many times we parents get very serious about our picture taking. When this happens, our children start seeing the camera as a taskmaster and suddenly what seemed like fun is now a chore. Instead, help build up the little photo shoot as a fun event. Give them an excuse to act the part and ask them show you how well they can zombie it up!
Play with them! Don’t sit behind the camera the entire time. Grab a few pictures, goof around with them, and then grab a few more.
The more they’re engaged, the more authentic your pictures will be.
Years from now, those candid pictures will likely be your most treasured.
2) Photograph them when they are their most excited about Halloween.
Often I see the thrill of getting a costume on loses its luster by the time Halloween night rolls around. With parties and parades, kids wind up wearing their costume several times before they go out trick-or-treating. Be ready to get pictures when your kids are at their happiest; I’ve noticed the excitement is at a high right after we buy the costume. If it’s not an elaborate costume, let them try it on and grab some fun photos of the enthusiasm! This will guarantee that you at least have some happy pictures of your kids in costume. On the night of trick or treating, you can focus on grabbing the details such as eating their first piece of candy or them setting off with their empty buckets and flashlights.
3) Be ready to change gears.
We’re talking about kids here, so as every parent knows, it’s important to be flexible. Photographing your kids is the most important time to let things go. If you’re trying to get your little bee to sit still but she refuses, step back and think of a different way you can photograph her. Maybe you need to dance to make her relax and laugh, or simply ask her to help you find a good spot to take the picture.
Shifting gears is often the answer to getting the pictures you want. (Just don’t let your little bee know what you’re doing!)
4) Fill your photos. Think about what you really want your pictures to say. I like my photos to tell a story, so I always try to incorporate as much as I can into each frame. If I’m photographing Green Lantern’s glowing ring, I might have his cat sister dance in the background. Think about packing as much as possible into each picture. Group shots that focus on one person are a great example of layering a photo.
5) Get in front of the camera with your kids. Along with planning for crazy, this is my favorite tip. Figure out your camera’s timer or ask a neighbor to photograph the entire family. Maybe even hand the camera over to the first house you take your kids to trick-or-treat at and ask them to take a quick picture for you… what a great photo that would make! Especially if it’s your child’s first halloween!
P.S. Need for Halloween photo tips? Check out the tips I gave to People magazine: 8 Boo-Tastic Halloween Photo Tips