Beyond Trick-or-Treating: How To Create Unique Halloween Photos

Halloween is a great opportunity to create fun, unique photos of your kids, but most of us take a few snapshots of trick-or-treating and move on. Here are a few tips to make the most of your Halloween festivities and create frame-worthy photos. From setup and planning, to a breakdown of gear and the reasons why I use certain SIGMA Art prime lenses, you will learn new ways to create fun and magical Halloween images with your children.


Setup / Prep for Halloween Photos

If I could offer just one single, important tip in regards to capturing your children in their Halloween costumes it would be to plan ahead and get photos in advance. Every year, my children dress up in their costumes in early October and we walk around town so I’m able to capture photos of them pretending to trick-or-treat. One of the main reasons is because come Halloween, we normally have snow and my children have to wear winter gear over their costumes. In addition, I’m able to avoid capturing crowds of people and draw focus right to my little ones. This leads to a stress-free environment for me since I have to have a watchful eye on them during trick-or-treating. Not to mention, my children love any excuse to dress-up! They look forward to this all year, so the more times they can parade about in their costumes the better.

In addition to capturing my children trick-or-treating in advance, I also love to capture individual photos of them in their costumes. I center the lighting, environment and overall mood around their outfits. Sometimes that means we set up something at home, or find a location at a park or in town. My older children like to collaborate with me on ideas. Having them get involved in the process is especially great for children who may be reluctant to be photographed. Having them partake in the overall photo concept creates an inclusive and exciting environment for all.

Of course Halloween isn’t just centered around costumes and trick-or-treating. One of our favorite traditions is carving pumpkins and I love capturing it every year. This is a perfect opportunity to photograph all my children in one frame too. I’ve always found that giving them something to do, especially something they enjoy doing, makes it easier. I love to line up their pumpkins one by one and capture them carving. There are so many ways you can shoot something like this, but my favorite view is from the front so I can see all their expressions. I try to plan this shot during golden hour so that my children are backlit, with open sky in front of them to help light their faces.

‘Tis the season for also visiting your local pumpkin patch and corn maze too. This is a great opportunity to capture candid images of your children. From picking out their pumpkins to running through the corn maze, images at the pumpkin patch and maze are always such memorable ones. I try to plan trips to this location around golden hour as well, if possible, especially on weekday afternoons when there are smaller crowds.


My Preferred Gear

I use a variety of cameras, but when it comes to lenses, I prefer SIGMA Art prime lenses because I shoot in low light often. This is especially true during Halloween since I’m often creating moody imagery. Being able to have a wide aperture to keep my ISO low and avoid high noise is crucial. Not only that, every single one of my Art prime lenses operates beautifully in low light. They focus fast, which is critical when working with little ones, and tack sharp.

Of course another benefit of Art prime lenses is the dreaminess I’m able to achieve with wide apertures like F1.4 .The bokeh is smooth and round, creating an ethereal atmosphere. Additionally, the strong compression with longer focal lengths helps to isolate my children from their environment. When I’m shooting in a busy location, this can be especially handy by softening distractions in the background.

Because I shoot with prime lenses, I often bring several with me when I’m out and about so I have options. At the same time, I try to keep the amount of gear I have with me at a minimum since my hands are often full with five children in tow. I regularly shoot with a Canon DSLR, a Canon EOS R mirrorless camera, and a Sony mirrorless camera. Being able to use my favorite SIGMA EF mount lenses on all three camera bodies with the Canon EF-EOS R adapter, or the SIGMA MC-11 Mount Converter, is huge. No matter which camera body I carry, I know my SIGMA lenses will work flawlessly with fast, accurate autofocus in any conditions.


Wide shots and environmental portraits (35mm)

Of course, I always try to be purposeful with my lens length depending on the story I’m trying to capture and convey. The SIGMA 35mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art is an incredible storytelling lens, and therefore it’s perfect for environmental portraits. I use this lens when the details within the environment are important to my child’s Halloween costume. Not to mention the 35mm works beautifully in tight spaces. It’s definitely the most versatile prime lens I own.


Capturing the moment (50mm)

When it comes to classic portraits of my children in their costumes, I gravitate towards the SIGMA 50mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art. There’s no distortion at this length which is crucial especially when I’m shooting close in proximity to them. In addition, the 50mm F1.4 is an incredibly versatile lens. I’m able to use it just about anywhere comfortably. The focal length is also equivalent to the human eye, so images captured with this lens look natural and lifelike.


Creative portraiture (105mm)

Hands down the SIGMA 105mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art lens is my favorite for dreamy imagery. When shooting outside (because of the long length it’s not something I can utilize indoors as much), I tend to gravitate towards this lens the most because of the large, smooth bokeh (it’s called the bokeh master for a reason). The long focal length leads to beautiful compression in the background, helping to isolate my children from their environment. This sort of lens really brings out the spooky, yet cute, vibes for Halloween.


Have fun this Halloween!

Whether you’re photographing your children at a pumpkin patch or in their Halloween costumes trick-or-treating, I hope you find these tips and tricks helpful. There’s nothing better than location scouting and brainstorming with my kids to capture their Halloween photos. Planning out your sessions and involving your children in the creative process is key to frame-worthy photos.

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