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Tips for Capturing Authentic Thanksgiving pictures

Tips for Capturing Authentic Thanksgiving pictures

Tips for Capturing Authentic Thanksgiving pictures

Thanksgiving is about family, food, and showing appreciation for everything you are thankful for.  It takes a lot of work to prepare for one of the biggest feasts of the year and it’s easy to get sidetracked with endless lists of things to do to get ready.  It is important to stay true to the meaning of thanksgiving and take a few moments to recognize what you’re grateful for. 

A fantastic way to commemorate your family and thanksgiving holiday is with photos.  Thanksgiving photography provides all the essentials for perfect pictures.  You have a good-looking family congregating together, an amazing thanksgiving menu to show off, and a sentimental sensation that permeates the environment.  What more could you ask for?  These are the perfect elements to create great pictures that you will get to keep forever.  So prepare your camera gear, and get ready to shoot some meaningful photographs.

Thanksgiving Family Photos

A classic family portrait

There is nothing more timeless than a classic family portrait.  This can be done the day of thanksgiving before everyone sits down to eat or, If you can get everyone together earlier in the week for this photoshoot, you will have a nice thanksgiving family portrait to display for everyone to enjoy and elevate the holiday family spirit.  See if you can get everyone’s schedules to work, you wont regret it, and it can be a fun prelude for the holiday to come.


It’s a special moment when greeting loved ones that you have not seen in a while.  Capturing some of your families’ interactions with one another as they arrive for thanksgiving will provide you with plenty of meaningful pictures.  The natural reaction will always be genuine.  You may even capture some funny moments as well when the grandkids are grossed out by their grandparents’ kisses and then run off to continue playing.


If you’re planning a thanksgiving weekend together, you will have plenty of moments to photograph, especially in the backyard when everyone’s playing games like football or any other fun activities.  With the right camera, you can achieve really cool sequence shots. 

Try using different exposure techniques such as a slightly longer shutter speed to create a trailing affect in your pictures.  Or record amazing video when using features like hyperlapse or slow motion when shooting which will produce remarkable video footage that your whole family will love.

Thanksgiving Cooking

There is a lot that goes into making thanksgiving special, and much of it is done in the kitchen.  Make sure to make the process fun by cooking together and helping one another.  If you begin early enough, and pace yourself, you will have time to enjoy every moment cooking together.  Take some photos of preparing the turkey and sticking it in the oven.  Make is a date with your partner cooking over music and wine.  Take a few moments to dance with your spouse in between dishes.  Make it memorable and take some photos.  Doing these things also makes preparing fun and enjoyable and less of a stressful job.

Generations Photo

Grandparents love thanksgiving, not because of the food, but because they get to see their children and grandchildren.  Take a generational photo, moments like these only come a few times a year.  These types of photos demonstrate thanks, appreciation, and love for grandparents.

All the Kids

Thanksgiving is a fun time for kids to see all their cousins.  For many families it’s not everyday that all the children are together.  This is a great opportunity to photoshoot all the kids.

Create a classic photoshoot with all the children and young adults together.  These are important because these memories sometimes fade in the minds of the younger ones.  Many years down the road, when they’re all grown up, they will have the chance to reminisce about these moments with their extended family.

Taking photos of the little helpers setting up the table or assisting you in the kitchen also makes for a really cute photo.  Consider taking a few of the kids while they’re playing as well.

Go Candid

When the family gets together, that’s when the magic happens.  This is where you can capture authentic heartfelt interactions as well as goofball moments that will fill you with joy. Take as many candid photographs as possible.  There will be throwaways, but you have to get through the no’s to get to the yes’s when shooting candid.  It’s a law of averages game.

Thanksgiving Themed Photos

Tips for Capturing Authentic Thanksgiving pictures

Every picture should have some form of thanksgiving spirit including the ones mentioned above but here are a few more ideas that have a little more highlight to thanksgiving.

Giving Thanks

This type of shot can create some meaningful pictures since this is a time to be appreciative and give thanks for what we have.  Try setting up your camera to capture the family sitting around the table when everyone is holding hands giving thanks for each other and the amazing thanksgiving dinner laid out before them.  Feel free to get artistic with this one shotting from the side to highlight the family and shooting from the top with just the table in the frame.  If done right, you will have your thanksgiving table with a lovely spread surrounded by holding hands.

Taking this a step further, record a video where each person tells the camera what they’re thankful for.  These are easy to edit and cut so you can make a video mashup to share with your whole family later on.

Thanksgiving table

It would be a shame after all that hard work to not have at least a few pictures of the amazing spread across your beautiful thanksgiving table.  Try shooting from different angles.  Getting a top view of the table is iconic.  You can also capture some highlights of the turkey being sliced and served.

Celebrate with a Toast

Raise your glass in appreciation.  This simple yet eloquent photograph is timeless and can even be used if you like to cerate picture post cards or invitations.  You will want to snap as many as you can because its hard to time.  You can sort through them later to find the right ones and discard the rest.

Best Cameras for Thanksgiving

When considering photography during a holiday, you will need the best cameras with the best features, that are simple to control.  The less gear the better.

Cameras like the Sony ZV-1F and Nikon’s Z 30 mirrorless are prefect for this occasion.  Both are an all-in-one camera with powerful automatic features which will help you get the perfect focus and exposure with every picture and video recorded.  They both have flip out vari-angle LCD screens so you can see exactly how the photo will look before you take the photo.   This is especially helpful when you’re in the shot as well (use a tripod and timer).  You can also get artistic if you love taking closeups of all the food as both cameras have awesome Bokeh features.

These are very lightweight cameras that can fit right in your pocket, so you’re always ready when a photographing opportunity presents itself.  They both also shoot awesome video.  There are some differences between the two, but both will be perfect for taking thanksgiving photography.  The best part is these cameras have great sharing features which enables you to send images and video clips right to your smartphone.  Meaning, you can send pictures of grandma with her favorite grandchildren to her phone right after taking the picture.

Tips for Capturing Authentic Thanksgiving pictures
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