How to Photograph Halloween Costumes




Introduction: How to Photograph Halloween Costumes

About: I've worked for Instructables off and on since 2006 building and documenting just about everything I enjoy doing. I am now the Creative Programs founder and manager for Autodesk and just finished building o...

Taking a fantastic photo of your Halloween Costume is something that you're going to want to make sure to do once you've sharpened your fangs and gotten your fake blood splatter looking just right on the night of the 31st.  Not only will the photo enable you to record your amazing Halloween masterpiece, but it will make it easier for everyone to appreciate all the hard work you did when you post your costume on Instructables and enter it in the Halloween 2009 Contest

Here's a few quick dos and don'ts that will help you take a great photo of your Halloween costume.

Step 1: Photo Basics

The photography wizards over at Photojojo have some absolutely great tips on how to take perfect photos of your projects to post on Instructables even when it's not Halloween.  The main points are summarized below.  Check out the posting from their newsletter for all the details.

  • use natural light from outside, windows and white walls
  • shoot in the morning or afternoon when there's nice even diffuse light
  • avoid bright spots and shadows from flashes if possible
  • build a light tent for taking evenly lit photos
  • if you do use a flash, think about making a simple [ flash diffuser]
  • keep them simple
  • cover a messy work surface a light colored piece of fabric or paper
  • backdrops are great for serious portraits, otherwise, find something simple and pretty and stand in front of it
  • watch out for reflective surfaces like mirrors and glass
How to shoot
  • use a tripod to prevent blurry photos
  • use macro mode when taking a closeup
  • get a friend to help out if you run out of hands
  • if it's digital, take a wider shot at a higher resolution and then crop it later
  • take many photos, chose the best one, delete the rest
What to shoot
  • take many photos from many angles
  • document each step of the process and be sure to show all the details, inside and out
  • get a shot of it "in action"
  • if it's something you can wear, put it on
  • if it's something that lights up, plug it in and let it shine
  • put something recognizable into the shot for scale

Step 2: Night Time Photography

Seeing as how most people will be wearing their Halloween costume while trick or treating or attending a party, it's likely that you'll need to photograph your costume indoors or at night. 

Instructables user thesparine gives some great tips on how to take great pictures at night in hisHow to take AWESOME night photos WITHOUT a tripod Instructable.

If you're inside, see if you can get near a light source.  If you have to use a flash, remember the red eye setting on your camera and see if you can use something that's semi transparent as a make shift diffuser. 

Step 3: Strike a Pose

This is the key to taking a great Halloween photo - remember to act the part and strike a pose.  Your costume is only half of your altered temporary persona - YOU are the rest of it.  So, put your aside your fear of looking silly act your part as best you can.

Step 4: Cuteness Factor

If your costume has some element of cuteness to it, be sure to ham it up for your photo. 

That means you all of you illegal terms of service breaking 6 year olds out there reading this! 

Climb inside that tiny box, stick your head out through a hole that's way too small for you, and wear that fake beard covered in talcum powder ever so slightly askew.

Step 5: Things to Avoid

Some things to avoid when taking pictures of your costume are:
  • dimly lit photos
  • far away photos
  • photos that show only a part of your costume
  • photos where it's not clear what your costume actually is
  • blurry photos
  • small & low res photos

Step 6: More Photo Tips on Instructables

There are plenty more photo tips on Instructables.  Here are some that might be useful this Halloween when you reach for your camera.

Tips for Halloween Pumpkin Pictures
How to Take Great Close up Photos
How to Photograph for Instructables
Photography Tip: Taking Beautiful Photos and Editing Them

Thanks to all the users whose photos are featured in this Instructable! 

*Feel free to contact me if you'd prefer that your photo not be used as an example of superior Halloween costume photography.*

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    3 Discussions


    10 years ago on Step 3

    Also, zoom in on the costume and don't have too much background


    10 years ago on Introduction

    This hasn't just helped me with taking pictures of costumes, but taking pictures in general. Thanks, Noah!