Thanksgiving kicks off the much-awaited holiday season and all photographers look forward to these winter holidays because they can capture moments and memories that are cherished by everyone and also enjoyed by the future generations. If you are not a pro at capturing these moments, here are ways to take great Thanksgiving images…

  1. Think before you leap
    Pre-planning is a very vital step for any sort of photography. Planning what shots to take and what to include in your frame is crucial. Empty your memory cards. Recharge your camera batteries to avoid disappointment in the middle of the shoot. Clean the lenses of your choice and prepare your lens kit. Explore the location and note down the specific details of the place, including the ambiance and lighting conditions. Take test shots to understand your composition. This makes your job easier before the actual shoot.
  2. Get up close
    Zoom in to that aspect of the subject that the eye would normally concentrate on. Zooming into a subject depends on your choice of composition of a subject. Always remember to fill the frame with details that would brighten the holiday spirit. During thanksgiving, the greatest captures could be the turkey freshly out of the oven, the wine glasses, the wreaths on the floor and the flower arrangements around the house.

    CC photo courtesy: Martinak15

  3. Group them up
    Holidays means many family photographs and candid shots to capture future nostalgia. Stay away from the boring and opt for unique and out of the box compositions. Compose your family shot in such a manner that none of the members are out of the frame. If you need to be in the frame, set the auto-timer of the camera and include yourself in it. Remember to include your thanksgiving meal as the centrpiece of the frame and make sure that your cook flaunts the meal. The main aim of clicking a family photo is to include all the family members within one frame. Avoid using flash and let the natural light from the table be the key source of illumination. And make it stand out with its uniqueness, like this action photo below.

    craig howell
    CC photo courtesy: Craig Howell

  4. Go candid
    Candid shots are the best captures. Do not always force your subject to pose. Take natural shots to highlight the beauty of Thanksgiving. Posed shots become tedious and monotonous. Keep the zoom lens on, widen the aperture and speed up the ISO to capture the action as it happens. This way, you don’t have to ‘stage’ a shot. Candids capture your family when they least expect it. Therefore, go for a longer focal length and a faster shutter speed to capture singular moments that will tell the story of the holiday season.

    sean dreilinger
    CC photo courtesy: Sean Dreilinger

  5. Get creative
    Don’t be afraid to experiment or get embarrassed. Use angles to capture your shots that would make your photograph interesting. It is good to follow the rule of thirds (keeping the subject off-center) but breaking rules to make your photograph better doesn’t harm you. Another part of using creative angles is deciding how to crop the subject with the frame to emphasize the composition and angle.

    CC photo courtesy: Julie

  6. Position pleasingly
    Choosing to position your subject off center will create a more dynamic image and one that feels more professional. The rule of thirds is the photographer’s most important compositional rule. If you don’t want the background to be too much of a distraction, use a wider aperture (like f/2 or f/2.8 to sufficiently reduce the depth of field).

    CC photo courtesy: Mike

  7. Get the camera settings right
    The winter lights and the family gathering is a time of intimate emotion and a photographer normally chooses to capture such moments without using the flash. A fast lens and the aperture as wide open as possible (f/2, f/2.8) also reduces the depth of field and requires using a slower shutter speed to obtain an adequate exposure. You’ll obtain a more dream-like image, which helps elevate the moment’s emotions in your photo. An ISO setting of 400 is probably the best bet for low-light shooting.

    CC photo courtesy: G.Ozcan

  8. Choose the right equipment
    You do not need to have all your professional equipment to take Thanksgiving photos. For low lighting, a detachable flash is needed. A zoom lens and a fast wide angle (say a f/1.4 28mm) for candid shots are best.
  9. And finally…
    Thanksgiving is a big family affair and the photographer’s work starts from the time the first family member arrives. Taking candid photos each moment adds to the memory. And do not forget to take a quick capture of the turkey.

    ~ Zahid H Javali