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10 Tips for Sweet and Spooky Halloween Photo Books

A group of kids with jack-o-lantern buckets for trick-or-treating | Motif

Reading Time: 5 minutes read

Want a wicked keepsake? A Halloween photo book is the best solution. What other occasion lets you dress up, spend time with loved ones, and just cut loose? Best of all, each Halloween has its own distinct personality, making it like no other Halloween before or after it.

This particular holiday also comes with some challenges for the photo book enthusiast. Lighting can be all over the place. The bustle can make it difficult to focus. And kids are more interested in the jovial happenings than whatever shot you’re trying to frame.

To help you out, here are ten tips for creating a once-in-a-lifetime Halloween photo book. As to whether it’s sweet or spooky—or a little of both—that’s up to you!

1. Capturing Halloween costume pictures

Rule number one for capturing Halloween costume pictures: Don’t wait until dark. Snap these shots in the light so all those wonderful details pop with vibrancy and color. In fact, consider taking these much-coveted photos the day before to ease the Halloween rush.

Beyond that, be creative and have fun! You’ll want the straight-on portrait shot, but don’t forget to experiment with angles. A high angle will give the photo a childish playfulness, while a low angle will make the kids feel larger than life.

Have your little ones get into character, too, and find some scenery to match. Is your child a fairy princess this year? Try a forest trail. A superhero? Consider a lionhearted leap from the playground swings.

2. Low-lighting tips for photographic treats

You’ll want nighttime shots, but these can be difficult to get right. Halloween photography shouldn’t rely on any one shot. Take lots of pictures so you have options to choose from. If your smartphone or camera of choice has a night mode, use it. If not, try these tricks:

  • Don’t use a flash unless you have a specific reason to use it. It over exposes nighttime shots, and getting hit with an unexpected flash is simply the worst.
  • Increase your camera’s ISO. This will lighten dark images, but it does add a grainy look (what photographers call “noise”).
  • Slow down shutter speed to limit motion blur.

3. How to photograph Halloween décor

Décor sits patiently for its photo op, yet can still be tricky to photograph. Thankfully, there are some techniques that can make a world of difference.

  • Take your photos in natural lighting. Harsh artificial light does you no favors.
  • Steady your camera. If you have a tripod—use it.
  • Try different distances, and don’t rely on your zoom. Get into the décor’s space.
  • The rule of thirds is your friend.
  • For outdoor Halloween decoration pictures, you may want to wait until sunset to give your photos those long, knife-edged shadows that scream Halloween.

4. Trick-or-treat picture tips

Trick-or-treat pictures are just as difficult as décor—for the opposite reason. It’s a mad dash of energy, excitement, and movement that give little time snap a photo. Instead of fighting the bedlam, role with it.

Your subject doesn’t always have to be your little one. Try pictures of the group: children holding their bags for candy, the smiles of adults obliging, the cavalcade of colored costumes. Groups offer versatile ways to fill the frame and experiment with the rule of thirds.

If you do want to single out your child, try a large aperture for a shallow focus effect.

5. Recommended themes for Halloween

It can be a lot of fun to pick a Halloween theme that connects your decorations, costumes, and festivities together. Some themes worth considering include: classic Halloween motifs (haunted house or monster mash), a fright-night flick (zombie apocalypse or slasher soiree), or a relaxing fall festival (if you’re not into the scares).

A simple yet memorable Halloween theme is Samhain, the Celtic celebration that inspired our contemporary holiday. A backyard fire pit with some apple- and hazelnut-based dishes—which the Celts associated with the Otherworld and divine wisdom, respectively—can go a long way to learning about Halloween’s deep history.

Whatever theme you land on, you can then use it to tie your Halloween photo book together.

6. Halloween party invitation ideas

The party invitation should match this Halloween’s one-of-a-kind personality. If you’re hosting a fancy-dress party for friends, create a collage that combines photos from past Halloweens to remind everyone how much fun they have together. 

If it’s a kid-friendly event with a haunted house theme, break out the arts and crafts. Put white thumbprints on a black paper, and illustrate the thumbprints to transform them into a family of ghoulish ghosts.

Personalized party invitations may seem like a ton of work, but Motif makes it easy. By saving your finished project to your Apple Photos app, you can turn one card into as many as you need.

7. Shooting the Halloween party

The key to good party photography is variety. Snap a mixture of costume poses, candid snaps, and action shots to capture the party’s many facets. Then get in close to the party’s small details: pets, food, and faces bobbing for apples.

Aerial shots make for great photo book centerpieces, so see if you can use a staircase, porch, or chair to get some height on the group.

8. The evening wind down

The evening is over, but there are still memories to capture. Take photos of little ones resting on grandpa’s shoulder and older kids comparing hauls. Grab images of goodbye hugs and clean-up helpers.

These moments often go overlooked in photo books, but they can be just as special and significant as the evening itself.

9. Picking the best Halloween pictures

Picking the best images for your Halloween photo book is matter of personal style, but there are still a few guidelines worth following:

  • Look for images that tie your Halloween theme together.
  • Skip blurry photos but not special moments.
  • Go for variety. Don’t add too many similar images.
  • Avoid photos with an element that distracts from the subject.
  • Don’t overthink it! Let your instincts guide you.

If you took a lot of pictures, this can be a time-consuming task. Luckily, Motif has features to evaluate your Photo app to select only the highest-quality images, saving you time and sanity.

10. The Halloween photo book

Make your photo book as unique as your Halloween was. For example, when creating labels, don’t just write dry facts. Play toward the evening’s tone with wording that’s playful, scary, humorous, etc.

Consider experimenting with layout, too. Halloween is a free-flowing kind of holiday. Instead of laying out images along straight lines, try askew angles and a more collage-like aesthetic.

With Motif, you can easily create a Halloween photo book to collect this year’s one-of-a-kind memories. Give Motif a try. We’re dying to see what you come up with.