At the end of October, many youngsters around the world celebrate Halloween. While the dentist may not appreciate the hand outs of candy and other sweets, the children certainly do.
Give your family and yourself a treat. Follow these sweet tricks to take treasured photos of youngsters at Halloween using a compact digital camera.
Catch ‘em doing something
Make sure to catch the children doing something, not just simply posing. Take as many photos as you can of the same scene or subject to help ensure you get some keepers.
Use a baby handler
If a child is very young, consider using an assistant such as a family member or friend. The assistant, or baby handler as often called by pro photographers, can adjust the the room lighting and help keep the child from wiggling out of view.
An assistant can also help get a youngster to have a pleasing look on his or her face when you’re ready to snap the shutter. A handler often stands behind the photographer, using fun techniques to get children to look towards and smile into the camera. They make funny faces, move their arms, hold the child’s favorite toy in view or try other creative techniques to capture the child’s attention.
Catch facial expressions
One of your goals when taking Halloween photos should be to capture a child’s facial expressions. So photos look more natural, try shooting some photos when a child is unaware that the camera is pointing his or her way.
And don’t forget to take some shots when they are not wearing masks.
Photograph at eye level
For close-ups, photos taken near or at the eye level of a child are often more pleasing than those taken when standing above him or her. Vary the angle too for more pleasing shots.
When photographing two or more children, have the youngsters stand close together. Take several shots as capturing pleasing facial expressions on everyone in a group can be challenging.
Fill the frame
Let the subject fill the frame. This helps eliminate distracting backgrounds by focusing on the child. Another benefit of filling the frame is that you will capture more detail in a child’s face and costume.
Illuminating the subject
When using a flash, stay within the flash range. Don’t stand too close, or too far away. Avoid taking shots with shiny objects in the background, such as high-gloss furniture, mirrors and windows. They reflect the bright light back into the lens and can ruin a photo.
Remember, too, that a flash may recycle slowly, so prefocus whenever you can. Oh, and start with a fully charged battery as it will improve flash recycle time.
Using the built-in camera flash outside
Many people never think to use their camera flash outdoors. If it is bright outside and a child is standing in the shade, such as under a porch or tree, it is a perfect time use fill-in flash to bring facial features and other details out of the shadows. At night, when the background is dimly lit, use slow-sync flash to capture the background while keeping the foreground properly lit. Hold your camera steady or use a camera support when using slow-sync flash.
Taking Halloween pictures inside
When you don’t want to use a flash inside, turn on rooms lights for additional illumination. You may have to increase the ISO, but try not to raise it too high unless your camera has a sensor that does well in low light.
Once again, to help eliminate camera shake resulting in blurred images, hold your camera steady or use a camera support.
When taking photos around artificial light, adjust the white balance to match the predominant lighting in the room.Watch the LCD as you change white balance settings to select the one that gives you the most pleasing and realistic colors.
On the other hand, capture some cool, eerie effect and color casts by using incorrect white balance settings. When done taking photos, remember to set the setting back to auto white balance.
Don’t forget the jack-o-lantern
If you photograph a jack-o-lantern, make sure to turn off the camera flash. Place more than one lit candle in the pumpkin to increase the glow. Lock focus and exposure on the pumpkin by depressing the shutter button halfway down before fully depressing it.
Photo credit (Creative Commons): Wee Westie Watching for Tricksters by Randy Robertson