PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Halloween is usually a time to think about the dead, but a local photographer said the holiday is bringing his business back to life.
Lance Reis owns Kickass Designs and specializes in photographing fashion, lifestyle, and cosplay subjects in the Portland area.
Like many photographers, Reis’ business was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The first four months of COVID really hurt. I lost a majority of my clients, and I get a lot of clients through cosplay, through comic-con specifically, so that really hurt not having comic-con this year,” he said.
Reis often relies on comic-cons for finding new talent and networking. Without people to work with, Reis couldn’t book any photo shoots for months. Things eventually started to look up when he began collaborating again with other photographers, models, and friends in the Pacific Northwest.
With fresh, new content to post to social media, Reis started seeing his engagement going up.
Now that Halloween’s here, it’s his time to shine.
“Every year I like to do 48 days of Halloween. So, I start the month before October to get people excited because… it’s always generally around Halloween when I build a following. I get all my followers, a majority of them, anyways, in October,” he said.
Reis’ “48 Days of Halloween” series has brought him so much attention, he’s now booked through November.
“I would definitely say Halloween has brought the interest in my photography back to life,” Reis said.
On Oct. 26, KOIN 6 News tagged along while Reis created a “Silent Hill” themed shoot with a model who goes by the name “Phony Ghost.” Reis turned the monochromatic hallway and stairwell of the Oregon City Municipal Elevator into a scene straight out of a horror movie.
Reis said he met Phony Ghost on Instagram. She also lives in the Portland area and the two have been working together during the pandemic.
“I knew with my skills at photography and her makeup, we could create some amazing things,” Reis said.
These days, it’s not just the people in front of Reis’ camera who are wearing masks. Reis also wears one to make his shoots as safe as possible. He said he already maintained six feet of distance between his models while on photo shoots, so he hasn’t had to make too many adjustments to adhere to safety guidelines.
Reis said he knows it won’t be a traditional Halloween this year, but said that shouldn’t stop people from doing something fun. He said one of the best things people can do to celebrate the holiday is to get dressed up in their costumes and go out for a photo shoot.
He said just because you’re missing out on parties and trick-or-treating this year doesn’t mean you need to miss out on the memories of dressing up.