Friday, October 26, 2012

Coffee With Beryl: Photography Halloween Style!

Here is a great guest post by Beryl, just in time for Halloween.   I have to confess I am a horrid mom who buys a scary t-shirt for the boys every year for their "costume".  They don't seem to mind and it saves this mommy time and money.  Plus they like to wear their scary shirts year round, so they gets plenty of use.  But sadly I don't have any photos of my boys dressed up in costumes.  This time of year makes me feel guilty...

At least we now live in a subdivision so my boys get to go trick-or-treating at home for the first time in their lives.  That is going to be fun!!!  Now, on to Beryl's post.

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I have this weird thing with Halloween. I am not a fan of store bought costumes. Maybe it’s because my mom made all of mine by hand as a kid -- carefully piecing together clothes we already had on hand with the perfect accessories to transform me into a witch, a clown, or a beautiful bride each Halloween. I guess my big beef with the commercialized store bought costumes is that the photographer in me is screaming: “I don’t want my kid to look like every other kid who is dressed up as a fairy, or a princess, or cupcake -- my munchkin has to look original in her photos this year!”


 

But as a busy working mama I’ve discovered that I just don’t have the time for crafty projects to make my daughter’s unique one-of-a-kind costumes and I am too frugal to lay down boatloads of cash on a custom get-up from Etsy that she’ll only wear once in her life.

Last year (as you can see), we lucked out and found the most adorable duck costume at the local consignment shop. Paired with orange tights, my plump 12 month old quacker was ready to hit the town and score her first Halloween candy spoils.


This year I didn’t have Brie’s costume nailed down until last week - and after waffling for weeks on store bought or handmade, the clearance rack at Target finally called my name with a standard Minnie Mouse costume ringing in at an under $10 price tag! It was a deal I couldn’t refuse AND I'm still finding great ways to give her costume some home spun TLC that’ll make for the unique photos I’m looking to capture. With only one more weekend left before Halloween, I'm giving you some of my best advice for capturing those memorable moments of your little ones decked out for the holiday.

Tip #1: Take some photos BEFORE Halloween even arrives

On actual Halloween day/night your kiddos are going to be so amped up to get dressed and get out the door, it's hard for us to expect them to pose for pictures before they go. Save yourself the headache and schedule an hour a few days before Halloween when the light outside is ideal and your kids are well rested and willing to be photographed. They will be so excited for a special opportunity to wear their costume before the big day arrives that I bet their cooperation for you will be A+.

Tip #2: Optimize and Accessorize

Halloween is the perfect time to unleash your creativity! It's a great opportunity to incorporate props, toys, or accessories that you might not normally want to include in your photos. If you don't think of yourself as creative that's ok, just be sure to vary up the perspective in your images. Shoot from above, get on your kids level, get close up detail shots and far away wide angle ones. Make a conscious effort to add some variety to your shoot so all your images don't end up looking the same. P.S. This is one tip that I didn't follow very well last year and I intend to follow more closely this time around!

Tip #3: Get the technical know-how to combat low light

If you do take out a camera during trick-or-treating, know how to set yourself up for the best possible images during a potentially tricky lighting scenario. Halloween typically begins a dusk and the lack of sunlight will make your camera want to take photos extremely slooooooooow. If you're still in auto mode, switch over to the night portrait setting because it will make that flash look a whole lot more natural. If you don't want a flash and you do want to get that camera out of auto, switch it over to Aperture Priority Mode (or Manual if you're comfy there). Crank up your ISO (to a high number), open your f-stop wide (to a low number), keep your camera as steady as possible (maybe even bring along a tripod if you're brave and want to lug it around with you), and read on for Tip #4...

Tip #4: Seek out ambient light and use it, use it, use it

Take photos on porches with the lights on, take images in places where there are a large number of street lamps, find holiday lights and light up decor in yards, or even have your kiddos shine flashlights on their faces for a spooky atmosphere. Get your kids as surround by light as possible because the light is what will help speed up your camera's shutter and help reduce the likelihood of blurry images.

Tip #5: Check for charged batteries and empty memory cards

This one may seem totally obvious but I won't tell you how many times I've been caught forgetting to do these very things!! I would hate for you to miss documenting this special holiday because your camera died or the card was full.

Your Homework

1) Come on over to my Facebook page HERE once you try out these tips and share your results on my wall when you’re done. I’ll be trying them out on Brielle this weekend and I'm inviting you to join me too. I want to see all your cuties dressed up in their costumes! 2) Email the link to this post to another mama you know who would LOVE to use these tips on her kiddos this Halloween. I'm sure she'll appreciate you thinking of her and sending them along. Until next time…happy snapping! xo
Beryl Ayn Young is a wife, mama, teacher, and photographer who offers photography lessons to nourish the mind, body, and soul over on her personal blog. Beryl believes in lifelong learning, photographic healing, & a glass half full perspective. She teaches e-courses and and provides photo coaching aimed at teaching you how to improve your camera skills and cherish life’s journey. Get inspired on your photography journey with one of her many freebie lessons or classes right here.

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