Giving Portraits Instead of Candy for Halloween Was More Fun Than I Had Expected

Giving Portraits Instead of Candy for Halloween Was More Fun Than I Had Expected

Knock on wood, but I walked outside this morning following the Halloween holiday and there were no smashed eggs, no toilet paper covering my trees, and about a hundred notifications on my phone from community members who had already downloaded the Halloween portraits I had taken for them.

Following up to my previous article, Give Portraits Instead of Candy for Halloween, I want share my experience and what I learned this year just incase you're on the fence about trying something like this in your community next year.

How Much Time To Invest

My total investment in time for this was about three and a half hours. I gave myself roughly 30 minutes to set up a few Nikon Speedlights with colored Magmod gels fixed to them. I didn’t have any sort of Halloween decorations set up in my yard and for some reason I had the Monster Truck “Grave Digger” on my mind and green and purple Magmod gels helped convey that Grave Digger vibe. For my main light I set up an Interfit S1 strobe with large parabolic modifier and weighed in down with roughly 50 lbs of weight, just in case someone decided to bump into it (no one did).

By the time I was set up, the sun was setting and there were already groups of people waiting to be photographed. Keep in mind I live in a small rural community, so the number of families that went out of their way to have their photo taken was impressive. I spent the next two hours photographing a steady flow of trick-or-treaters.

Post Production

There wasn’t quite enough time while I was shooting to crank out a base edit to apply to the images as I shot them. I did this whole thing solo, so the aid of an assistant applying base adjustments as I shot the images would have cut down on the post production .

After wrapping up the shooting part of the evening, I immediately imported the images to Lightroom and made a base adjustment on the first portrait I took. I then synced those settings to all of the other images. The entire process took less than 30 minutes from importing the images to uploading them to an online gallery.

If you browse the gallery, you may note light stands, a pink ruler I used to guide the trick-or-treaters into place – all of which could have been Photoshopped out, but does anyone really care about the leg of a light stand or a ruler making its appearance in the photo? I don’t think so.


I woke up this morning to an incredible response to the images. The smiles I saw on some faces last night outshined any smiles or reactions I’ve ever seen anyone have to candy, and that made me feel good about doing this.

There’s a whole year to decide if this is something you’d like to do in your community. Based on my experience, I’d recommend it. See the full gallery here.

Dusty Wooddell's picture

Dusty Wooddell is a professional photographer based in the Southwestern United States. Self-proclaimed thinker, opportunity seeker, picky eater, observer of things.

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Very cute photos. :-)

Nice job. The images came out really good and I am sure you made lots of people happy.

So cool. I’ll have to see what I can come up with next year!

This was a good idea! Images came out great.

Love this!

Great project.

Brilliant idea!