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Your Best Fright Night Photos Yet: My 3 Tricks for Capturing Costumed Kids

Something wicked (or cute, or brave, or magical, or hilarious, or creative, or somewhat indiscernible) this way comes! Halloween costumes! When I look back through our family photos through the years, the ones I've taken of my kids in their Halloween costumes are at the very top of my favorites. And I've developed a few strategies along the way to help you capture your own costumed characters better than ever.


Tell your princess to twirl and curtsy, your Superhero to flex their muscles and fly (or scooter so their cape floats a bit), your witch or wizard to cast a spell, your 90's teen to do the running man. You get the idea. If you can give your kiddo a couple of ideas to start they'll often come up with a couple more to transform into their character. And SHOW them! Your middle-schooler may not be fully aware of the best dance moves of the 90's. This. Is. Your. Moment. (Maybe stretch first.)


Chances are your kid's costume has come with accessories - a sword, shield, wand, cape, mask, broomstick, fanny pack. But if your kid's costume doesn't, you might be able to look around your house or garage to come up with something for them. Having an accessory or prop can help them with tip #1 of getting in to character, but it also makes for more interesting photos. Here's an example. Last year my daughter was Strawberry Shortcake. I didn't have immediate ideas for how to ask her to get into character (and I did not want to destroy my kitchen with baking supplies) - but we happen to own a hot pink Vespa toy. She rode up and down the driveway a couple of times and I got fantastic shots that are far more interesting.

Ask your kid to hold their props close to their face. Witches brooms are a good example; for a full body shot, it's great to hold it by the top end handle, but when you're close on their face, have them flip it around so the "bristles" are near their face. Much more interesting. Same with wands, shields, swords, etc. Have kids slip their masks up onto their heads so you can see their eyes for a couple of photos.


Hopefully, your mind is full of ideas for prompts and props. Make a little note of what you'll ask your kid to do, and gather whatever you might need for photo time. (Make sure to charge the pink Vespa!). And think carefully about WHEN you'll take your photos. If you've got a Halloween party the weekend before Halloween, I strongly advise taking photos then. It's a little easier when there isn't the pressure of getting out the door for trick-or-treating on a school night. If Halloween night is your only real chance, then get everyone ready early so that you can shoot while there's still good light outside.

** I've talked mostly about posing individual kids, but if you've got multiple kids you can still ask them to be in character, just standing next to their siblings! I typically have my kids do one standing photo together and one sitting photo together. Especially for little kids, having them sit down often works better.


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