Tips For Photographing Halloween

Photographing Halloween ghost costumes

Let’s talk about photographing Halloween! The holiday is fast approaching and if you have kids like mine then they have probably changed their minds about their costumes 27 million times already!! 😆 I told them this week they have to commit!! Everyone is super excited because its the first time since Covid that our town is actually having an official Halloween celebration this year! 

I am personally not a big Halloween person. I’m an introvert who doesn’t like going out in crowds of people but apparently my children are the opposite so I have to take one for the team! I do love seeing the joy on their little faces so it’s all worth it in the end!

Ok…enough chit chat from me! Let’s talk about photographing Halloween!!


The most valuable piece of advice I can give you is not to take your Halloween photos on actual Halloween!! Wait?? What?!?! You heard me right….don’t take them on Halloween night. Kids are so amped up and excited to get out there and trick or treat. The last thing they want to do is sit still for photos. I’ve tried it and it’s stressful!! 😆 It’s more fun to just help them get ready and enjoy the magic and be present than trying to get them to pose and sit still for a photo! 

So now we take a day to test out everyone’s costume. We make sure we have the makeup down and all the moving parts are working. Everyone is excited to get dressed up and much more willing to take a photo for Mom.

Photographing Halloween costumes


I always find that it’s important to give them a few minutes to get into character. They want to jump around, make creepy sounds, and try to scare their brothers and sisters. So I let them get the wiggles out before we try to taking any photos. It makes it more fun for them and I tend to get shots with much better posing oh their end.

Photographing Halloween Costumes


I typically like to try and capture my Halloween photos right around sunset if I am shooting outdoors. It gives the feel of the approaching evening but I’m not having to try to shoot in the dark. If I’m feeling super adventurous I might try to capture a jackolantern photo in the dark. But they are always well behaved and sit still so nicely! 😆

If I’m feeling really motivated I may try and get up extra early to capture the morning fog. We don’t get a lot of fog here but when we do it can create a really amazing atmosphere for Halloween photos.

Spooky photo of a little girl in the fog with a doll.


There are also a lot of moments to capture as you actually build up to Halloween! Carving the pumpkins is one of my favorites! This year my oldest daughter did most of the carving for her little siblings and I was soo proud of her. They picked out the design and she did all the dirty work that I usually have to do each year. She was such a trooper!! 

Little boy carrying a pumpkin.

There are soo many other Halloween related traditions to capture as well. Halloween cookie baking, festive decorations, or even trips to the pumpkin patch or corn field. It can be fun to capture all the fun things that go along with spooky season…not just the costumes. And don’t forget to snap a pic of all the candy they collected!


There are soo many fun props to use when photographing Halloween that really enhance that spooky mood. Candles, fog machines, and smoke bombs are just a few things that come to mind. Halloween is really a time to push the edge creatively and do things that you normally might not shoot. 

It’s also a time to explore shooting in creative spaces. Maybe you shoot in the woods, or find a cool abandoned building to create that spooky atmosphere.

When I think of Halloween colors, orange and black are always the first that come to mind. I don’t typically shoot with a lot of orange so I love to use the Fall colors to really help play up the Halloween mood. And if you need some tips for taking your Fall photography up a notch check out my blog post here!

Little boy pulling a wagon with pumpkins

Photographing Halloween is a fun way to mix up your photography and get creative. Let’s do a quick recap!

  • DON’T SHOOT ON HALLOWEEN – The kids are way to excited and its har dot get them to sit still and pose.
  • LET THEM GET INTO CHARACTER – Give them a little time to play and enjoy their costumes before you start shooting. They will give you much better poses!
  • LIGHTING – Shooting at dusk gives you that feel of the approaching Halloween night! If you are feeling ambitious try an early morning shoot to capture that fog.
  • TRADITIONS – Don’t just capture costumes, there are so many other fun traditions surrounding the holiday.
  • CREATING THE MOOD – Take advantage of those fun Halloween props and look for locations with a spooky vibe.

I hope these tips help you photograph your best Halloween yet!



P.S. I’m participating in a super fun blog circle this month with some of my photographer friends. Check out my friend Robyn’s post! She is a premiere senior portrait photographer and she is showcasing a family senior session on her blog!

Ruth Young is a professional, portrait photographer and photography educator located in Culpeper, Virginia. She photographs her daily life with her 5 small children and has a passion for teaching photography. For more about Ruth follow her on Instagram where she posts daily.


  1. Fiona Saxton says:

    Oh I love this advice. You have inspired me to take halloween photos of my kids not on halloween which I usually try and do haha. Thank you for your great post.

  2. These Halloween photos are fantastic, and some super great tips!

  3. ROSA CLARK says:

    So many great tips!!! Your pictures are so beautiful!

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Hi! I'm Ruth!

Welcome to my blog where I share all things photography related. I am a fine art photographer and photography instructor and mentor. I am also the mother to five wild little children who I homeschool. We love to explore nature while I take photographs along the way!

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