Thanksgiving is a time where many families come together for traditions, wonderful food, and quality time.  It’s a time to reflect on what you’re grateful for as well as a time of year for beautiful photos of the people and places you love the most. Here are some of my favourite tips for capturing your family’s Thanksgiving memories!

mother with her sons in the fall wrapped in a blanket

Get in the photos

Make sure to hand your camera or phone over to another family member so that you can be in the photos with your children.  Whether it’s sitting at the dinner table, out on a nature walk, or enjoying quiet time at home, make sure you are not always behind the camera!  Tell your partner or a friend ahead of time that you want to be in the photos so that they can remind you to hand over your camera.  

Find the light  

As the daylight fades, it’s harder to take photos indoors. Thanksgiving dinner often takes place after the sun sets and you may struggle to take photos indoors.  If you have the chance, make sure to take photos of family members, food, and the table set up earlier in the day (or during preparations) so that you have enough natural light coming in from the windows to take well lit photos.  

family outside on a blanket

Don’t forget about ‘behind the scenes’  

While a big meal may be the highlight of the long weekend, don’t forget to photograph all the preparations that go on behind the scenes in the kitchen.  Some of my favourite memories are preparing holiday dishes with family members: I don’t remember much about the meal itself but I do remember the time we spent together in the kitchen.

Head outside 

The flash on your camera and phone have limited usefulness, which is why it is easier to head outside if you want to photograph family members together.  I know how hard it is to get big groups of family and friends together, which is why it’s so important to photograph the moments of connection.  If people are reluctant to participate in posed photos, then focus on a fun activity (a game of soccer?  pumpkin carving? raking leaves? a nature walk?), which takes the pressure off people to pose and smile for the camera.  

father with his sons

Contain the chaos  

If you have friends or family with little ones who are coming together for Thanksgiving, plan a craft for the kids to do to together.  Rather than trying to get all the kids to sit still and smile for the camera, set up an activity that will capture their interest and then take photos of them together crafting or playing.  A table near a window or patio door is best to make sure you have enough light to take photos of them playing together.  One activity that will often get the interest of both little and big kids is decorating treats or cookies!