Nikon Learn & Explore

Halloween & Autumn Harvest Photography

Tips for taking better fall photos

Karen Wagner photo of a boy with a pumpkin in a field for halloween and autumn harvest photography article

© Karen Wagner

In this photo, an older boy is proudly displaying the pumpkin he's chosen while on a trip to a pumpkin farm. Candids are great but so are photos of your kids looking right at the camera.

Autumn is a great time of year to take photographs—the leaves on trees are turning brilliant colors and falling to the ground in abstract patterns. Rake the leaves into piles and you’ve got a wonderful setting for fun family photos of your kids jumping into piles of leaves and tossing fistfuls of crunched up colorful leaves into the air.

Fall Photo Tips with Pumpkins

Visits to local farm stands or pumpkin patches are also great places to take photographs of your family enjoying the season. Take close ups of the pumpkins large and small, the oddly shaped gourds and colorful Indian corn. Look to capture the geometric shapes of bales of hay piled high and corn stalk mazes.

Always bring your camera when you go pumpkin picking—kids make great subjects as they run around the field, trying to pick up pumpkins that weigh half as much as they do or pulling a wagon full of pumpkins of various shapes and sizes. Even a treat such as a cup of warm cider or roasted corn on the cob make for great images when you’re capturing your family enjoying themselves.

You’ll want to take plenty of candid photos as well as one or two of the kids looking at the camera, smiling proudly with their chosen pumpkins. Shoot a variety of shots, from wide landscapes of the fields at the farm, to medium shots of the kids with their pumpkins to close ups of the vegetables on display. A variety of images will help tell a better story.

Your photo story doesn’t end when you leave the pumpkin farm. Do you normally carve Jack O’ Lanterns for displaying in your house or yard? Then you’ll want to take plenty of photos as your family enjoys the fun of creating their own ghoulish Jack O’ Lanterns. Take lots of photos of your kids proudly displaying their creations.

If you set out your Jack O’ Lanterns at night, using candles or flashlights to light up the insides for a festive glow, and want to take photos of them, you’ll want to put the camera on a tripod or rest it on a sturdy surface, use a slow shutter speed and no flash, to capture the glowing light coming from the Jack O’ Lantern, as well as some ambient light around them. Bracket your exposure and take lots of shots to make sure you get a great one that you love.

Diane Berkenfeld photo of indian corn for halloween and autumn harvest photography article

© Diane Berkenfeld

Autumn is a very colorful season, not only as the leaves change but because of the vibrant, colorful subjects you can find such as this Indian corn. Whether you photograph a bunch hanging on a door, or close up like these stalks on display at a farm stand, capturing the fine detail of the kernals makes for a great photo.

Halloween Photo Tips

Halloween itself is a wonderful day for pictures. It's a great opportunity for you to take photos of your kids in costume, to chronicle their growth and changing “favorite” costume. And, if they’re wearing a scary costume such as a ghoulish monster, have them make a scary face for the photo—keeping in character.

If you take your kids Trick or Treating in a group, remember to take photos of all the kids together. Don’t forget to grab a picture of the parents as well, especially if you all dress up in costume too!

At the end of the day (or evening), grab a shot of the kids with their haul of candy. For a playful photo, have them dump out their bag or basket or hold up fistfuls of candy while grinning proudly at the camera.

Do you dress up your furry friends in Halloween costumes too? Remember to take photos of them as well.

Since you may be taking some Halloween photographs in low light, at dusk or early evening, you’ll want to increase your ISO and turn on your flash. Fill flash will work well to help capture the mood at dusk. Use the Night Portrait setting if your camera has one. It basically tells the camera to fire the flash, but also use a slow shutter speed to pick up any streetlights that may be lit in the background.

Melissa DiBartolo photo of painted pumpkins on a table

© Melissa DiBartolo

Having your kids paint their pumpkins can be just as much fun as carving Jack O' Lanterns.

This Article Goes Great With These Products