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How to take Halloween photos

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Halloween offers the opportunity to capture a variety of images that are sure to please you and your family for years.

If you take the time to think through your photo opportunities, your chances of having terrific photos increase.

Here are 12 tips for Halloween photography:

1. Start early.

Snap photos of your children and grandchildren before they set off to trick or treat. They’ll be less rumpled and sticky. If kids wear a mask, take photos of them with the mask on and off so you can identify them in years to come.

2. Turn off the flash for pumpkin shots.

If your lighted pumpkin is on the doorstep in the dark, using the flash will wipe out the light from the candle. Put the ISO on 400 or 800, slow down the shutter speed, and use a tripod, if you have one, or rest the camera on a fence or chair so it doesn’t move. It’s safer to use battery-operated candles or a flashlight in your pumpkin.

3. Stagger a group of six or eight trick or treaters or partygoers.

Your photo will be more interesting if people aren’t lined up.

4. Take head and shoulder photos, too.

In addition to snapping the full body to get in the entire costume, remember to take photos of people’s head and shoulders. The faces and the smiles can be delightful or scary.

5. Try unusual angles.

A different angle, like shooting from down low can completely change a photo and make it unique.

6. Use natural light.

Try taking photos at twilight. This time of year, we experience a beautiful pinkish light at twilight. At dusk, you’ll get a spookier look.

7. Avoid flash reflections.

Don’t place your subjects in front of mirrors or windows.

8. Ask for action.

Have the child act out the costume, such as having your princess strike a royal pose.

9. Try lighting effects.

Use the light from the pumpkin or have someone shine a flashlight from the side onto a face for special effects.

10. Experiment with the night settings on your camera.

They adjust for low light by letting more light in. Press the shutter slowly, use a tripod, or use the self-timer so the camera doesn’t shake.

11. Convert photos to black and white or sepia.

This can add to the scary factor.

12. Take photos of the food and decorations.

If you have a Halloween party, remember to snap a few photos of the food and decorations.

For more information on Halloween photography, see “Halloween Photography Tips” on the Digital Photography School Web site.

Good luck with your Halloween photos. Let me know how they turned out.

Happy Halloween.

Copyright 2009, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist

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