It’s hard to take good pictures of a dog and/or a baby in a Halloween costume. How do I know? My pictures from last Halloween were a disaster. First mistake? I planned to take all of the pictures on Halloween. Like the actual day. Of course, my niece and I were both sick with a cold. But, I’m not one to give up, so I powered through. Second mistake? I didn’t let my niece try on the scarecrow costume I made ahead of time. I wanted to surprise her. She hated the overalls. In fact, she cried the entire time she had them on. The crying upset the dogs, so I didn’t even bother to include them in the pictures. They had their own photos of misery. See below.
It’s a new year, so I developed a new approach to Halloween pictures. Really, what choice did I have? Last year’s pictures were a disaster!
Like really, really early. I bought the costumes in August, and we did our first photo shoot in the front yard not long after they arrived. When I looked at the first batch of photos, I thought that with the sparkly outfits on Everly and the dogs the house and foliage in the background was too much. I wanted something simple. Because I started early, the trip to JoAnn’s for fabric over the weekend was not a big deal. If I’d waited until October? No time.
When I got to JoAnn’s, they had little bales of hay! I realized that they would go with Everly’s scarecrow costume from the previous year! A couple of bales went into the cart along with several yards of tan and black fabric. Then when I got home I dug around in my garage and found my decorative pumpkins. I felt hopeful. This year, the pictures might turn out.
Be Prepared to Reshoot
My first set of Halloween themed scarecrow pictures were cute, but a lot of them got blown out by the sun. No matter how I tried to adjust the photos in Lightroom, Everly and Izzy didn’t look right.
So, I waited for a cloudy day and tried the pictures in a different location. I was much happier with the final product.
In the past, getting the dogs to behave in a costume involved yelling. This year, I let Everly hold treats and feed the dogs throughout the shoot. She loves giving them treats, and they love eating. Everyone was so much happier!
Start with One
One kid or one dog, and if it goes well, add to it. Don’t try to make a two year old and a dog sit still on the first try. Everyone will end up crying and/or looking miserable.
When I set up my props and put Everly in her costume, and the dogs in theirs, it’s hard to stop! But, if I feel like I want to yell, I end it. Pictures aren’t worth making everyone unhappy. It’s true that the first time I set up the hay bales and the pumpkins, it did take some time. But, the last time I did it, Everly helped me place the props and knew where to sit and was all right with her overalls, so it went quite a bit faster. So remember, while it may take time a significant chunk of time for your first set up, every setup thereafter will go more smoothly.
Train Your Dog In Advance
When I tried to have Kinsey sit next to Everly, she would, instead, heel up by me. Kinsey didn’t understand, and as a trainer that’s my fault. Before we start our Christmas shots, I need to work with her on hitting a mark.
Use a Platform
Kinsey is trained to sit and stay on a platform. Since it’s something she understands, it’s a tool I can, and should, use for photo shoots. This time, honestly, I didn’t think of it! I plan to incorporate a platform into our Christmas pictures.
I admit it. I can be controlling. It’s only because I want everything to turn out just so! But, letting Everly and Kinsey run around together in the front yard turned into some of my favorite shots. Sometimes, I have to let it go!
There you have it! Everything I learned from months of shooting dogs and kids for Halloween. I’m glad I did it! Partly for the pictures, and partly because I’m turning Everly into a photographer!
Everly’s Supergirl costume is from Costco.
Sherlock’s Superdog Costume (X-Large fit Sherlock, and he’s 55 pounds.)
Quincy’s Wonder Woman Costume (Small fit her perfectly, and she’s nine pounds.)
Kinsey’s Wonder Woman Costume (X-Large was too small for Kinsey, and she’s 60 pounds.)
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