Thanksgiving Photography Tips Part 1: Portraits Everyone Will Love

pumpkins-1642231_1920As the Halloween sugar rush and excitement winds down, people all over the country will soon start thinking about Thanksgiving. Of course, planning the Thanksgiving meal is very important in most households, but don’t forget to start thinking about your Thanksgiving Day photography as well.

For many, the holiday is all about the spirit of family and togetherness, and taking pictures helps capture the memories. In this two-part series, we’ll provide some helpful tips on how to impress your family by taking topnotch Thanksgiving photos.

Capture the Lighting

Taking portraits of the family outside is ideal, as autumn provides a naturally beautiful backdrop, and the lighting is usually better than indoors. If taking family pictures outside isn’t an option, make sure to effectively manage the lighting indoors: Open your shades, for instance, letting in as much natural light as possible, and turn on all indoor lighting.

Try not to use the flash function on your camera or smartphone. Many cameras and smartphones have a built-in high dynamic range (HDR) mode, which optimizes for light and dark areas to give you better overall exposure. Turn on HDR mode, if possible. If your camera has an ISO setting, it’s usually best to keep it as low as possible. Increase the ISO to 400 or higher, however, if that means you can avoid using the flash.

Create the Perfect “Norman Rockwell” Shot

Throughout the day, capture all the action, both in and out of the kitchen. Make sure to take candid shots, as well as some posed pictures of different combinations of family members. There is one classic Thanksgiving picture you should try this year, if you haven’t before: a shot of everyone sitting around the dining room table with the turkey front and center.

First, position yourself well. Go to the end of the table opposite from the turkey, and get above eye level so you can shoot down towards the subjects. If possible, get up on a stepstool or chair for a better angle. Make sure to organize this photo before eating so the turkey is whole, and there aren’t yet any messy gravy spills.

Take a couple different versions of the picture: everyone smiling, some relaxed candid’s and a posed candid in the style of Norman Rockwell’s famous painting, Freedom from Want. Have some family members stand or lean against the table so you can fit more people in the photo. Just be sure to photograph quickly so that your food stays hot!

Back Up and Share Your Photos

Of course, everyone in your family will want copies of the photos. Try using the Fasetto app to back up your photos and share them – any family members who also use the app will be able to store and access photos, even while not continuously connected to the Internet. Plus, if your family isn’t all able to gather around the same table, it’s a great way to share photos so you feel more connected during the holiday.

In our next post in this series, we’ll talk about tips for photographing Thanksgiving food. Stay tuned!


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