Fall is my favorite season. Maybe it’s the crisp cool air, the crunch of colored leaves underfoot, or perhaps it’s simply my desire to wear cashmere sweaters again. Without a doubt, fall is one of the best times to take pictures with your family. If you think about it, we take so many pictures throughout the winter holidays yet there are just as many fantastic fall photo-taking opportunities in October alone. Here are a few ideas for family activities and tips for super snaps of your little pumpkins.
Spooktacular Scavenger Hunt
Divide your family into two teams (works well if you have more than one child) with each parent as a team “driver.” Or, challenge another family to capture the most Halloween pictures in the least amount of time. Each team will need its own digital camera. Create a fun list of easy-to-achieve, walk-to or drive-able tasks. Here are a few ideas to get you started: take a photo in your Halloween costume, with a black cat, jumping in a pile of leaves, checking out a Halloween book from the library, holding a pumpkin, eating a taffy apple, or standing among old gravestones (for a truly eerie effect).
At each location, make sure your child is not positioned between the sun and your lens, creating shadows on his or her face. Or, trigger your flash to add a little light in all the right places. Keep in mind, that making your subject the focus of attention does not mean that you have to put him or her in the middle of the frame. Try placing the subject slightly off-center to draw your viewer into the picture.
At the end of the competition, grab a pizza to share at home. Plug your cameras into your tv and enjoy comparing shots. Create a few category prizes (e.g. most creative shot, funniest picture, scariest shot, fastest time, farthest distance traveled etc.) so every team can be a winner.
Pumpkin Patch, Here We Come!
Make an annual visit to the pumpkin patch a family tradition – start this year! Nothing promotes bigger smiles than letting your kids wear their Halloween costumes to pick out their pumpkins!
If the weather is cloudy, don’t worry. Overcast days produce soft light because the sunlight is scattered by the cloud cover. With no glare, your portraits will look their best. Try and get into the pictures, too. If you feel funny about asking someone to take your picture (don’t!), you could bring a Joby and use your self-timer. (A Joby is a small flexible tripod that fits in your coat pocket and even works with a DSLR.)
Capture the emotions of the day by starting with pictures at home, in the car and running towards the patch. Whether the kids are sitting on pumpkins or on the ground, stand back and get the full effect of the surrounding pumpkin patch. Also, be sure to take close-up candids of your little ones trying to lift the big ones (pumpkins)! Take advantage of all other Halloween backdrops such as face cut outs, height charts, slides or jumpy castles and of course hay rides.
Trick or Treat!
Start the story of your Halloween night with pictures of your kids donning their costumes. Try to catch their natural expressions – ask them questions about how they’re feeling, while you take their pictures. Taking pictures at an eye-to-eye level will create more compelling shots. You might even try lying on the ground and shooting upwards.
Be ready to snap the perfect shot by holding your finger on the shutter button (the button you press to take the picture), as you frame the picture in your mind. All digital point and shoot cameras have a delay from when you press the button to when the picture is actually taken.
Take pictures at the end of the evening, too – the candy swap! Your shots of candy carpeting the floor and trades being bartered will trigger fun memories in years to come.