Halloween is barreling towards us like the Headless Horseman racing Ichabod to the bridge. Time for some Halloween photo tips! This time around I’m talking about photographing costumes. Keep your eyes open because plenty more tips are coming soon.
Match the Costume
The first thing is to match the feel of the photo to the costume. A zombie at a daytime tea party or a princess in a nighttime junkyard doesn’t reinforce the idea of the costume. Use location, props, and lighting to emphasize the costume.
Watch the Shoes
Shoes are the number one out of character problem for most costumes. Everything looks fine until you see those tennis shoes on the feet of Dracula. Crop out anything that doesn’t match the costume with your framing. Try not to crop at a joint (ankle/elbow/wrist/etc) but framing out a bit of non-costume is much better than leaving it in the shot. You can also hide non-costume bits behind props or environmental elements. (How to Make Super Hero Boots from Brown Paper Packages)
Get the Right Light
Please, please, PLEASE don’t light your little ghoul or goblin with your camera’s pop up flash 2 feet from his/her face! It will just overexpose the shot and completely ruin the illusion. With most Halloween costumes, darker is better. Or at least angle the flash to get some nice shadows. (In depth Halloween lighting guide at Phorum Photographic)
Look up…or Down
If your subject has a powerful costume, try shooting from below eye level to give more power to your subject and make them appear larger. You can also shoot from a high position to emphasize the frailty of other costumes.
Act it Out
Let your subject act out how his/her character would behave. Monsters growl, princesses are dainty (except Fiona maybe), superheros strike heroic poses. Letting them act out the Halloween costume adds life and interest to your photos.
When there is nothing else you can do, zoom in and emphasize the costume by making it the only thing in the photo.