I read an article recently that gave great advice about how to take good photos at Thanksgiving. Since Thanksgiving is right around the corner, I thought I’d share what I read combined with a few tricks of my own! Feel free to share your experiences in the comment area below, and as always, share this with others if you find it helpful.
Make a Plan
Make a quick checklist of what you’ll need to do before the big day – charge the battery, make room on your memory card, clean your lens. If the event is taking place at your home, look at the lighting situation and take a few “trial shots” at the time of day that you will be entertaining. You’ll be glad you did.
Before everyone arrives on the scene, or before you arrive at your Thanksgiving destination, jot down a short list of shots you would love to have — the children’s table, the frenzy in the kitchen, the turkey being carved, the gang watching football after the delicious meal, three generations washing dishes. If you make a list ahead of time, you’ll be more likely to remember to take the shots.
If you have a zoom lens, the holidays are a great time to pull it out an snap it on. It will give you the flexibility to get detailed shots that really share the spirit of the day. In addition to the shots on your “don’t forget list”, zoom in on some of the holiday elements – a wreath, the cornucopia, a place setting at the table, a pie… These up close images will help deliver the sights, sounds, and smells of the holiday.
A little tip on taking pictures of food items…shoot at eye level of the plate and focus on the front or front third of the dish.
Capture the Group
A few posed family or group shots are a great keepsake. You just never know when the same group of people will be gathered together again, so even though it may be a challenge, be bossy and position everyone for one or two posed shots. To make them less ho-hum use props – the turkey, a pie, or a football, or even have everyone gathered around a piano… use what you have to add a little punch to the picture. Pull in a step ladder for one or two shots, so you can get a different vantage point. And, don’t forget to bring a tripod along so that you can get into these shots as well.
Capture the Scene Without Being Seen
Really good candid shots are priceless both in their beauty and their rarity! So take lots of shots to end up with a handful of good ones. Take a series of pictures that tell the story of your event and capture the true emotions of the day. Photos of people spanning several generations are especially meaningful so keep your eye open for them.
Try Something New
Posed photos don’t have to be dull! Try different perspectives and angles on a few shots. Stand above your subjects, turn the camera slightly sideways, use a ladder, or lie down and shoot up… You may just find these creative shots to be, well, really creative!
Good luck and Happy Thanksgiving!