Thanksgiving is just next week and I thought it would be fun to share some ideas for taking cool photos of your day! This is coming from a perspective that you have a normal point & shoot camera and hopefully you can change your aperture and ISO settings on your camera. You don’t have to have a professional grade camera to take some great, memorable shots of your holiday!
On my Thanksgiving there will be a total of 8 adults and 4 kids at my home. Not a ton compared to some homes, but a full house for mine! I’m still deciding where we will sit and at what time we will have our dinner, but more than likely I will plan it according to the best time and location for taking photos…which brings me to my first point…
1. Start your holiday at the right time. This might be unrealistic, but it is worth a try! Right now in Sacramento the sun is setting at around 5pm. It makes me so sad that I don’t have a lot of time in the day to get good sunny shots. If we eat after the sun is set, I can be sure I will take photos with my flash on or my ISO up way high and just count on having lots of grain (or noise) in my photos.
2. Take advantage of soft lighting. Light some candles at your table, maybe even flameless ones or place a table lamp next to where you are eating. If you can get more light into the situation, take advantage of it! Keep it soft though, no one looks flattering with harsh shadows under their chins or eyes. If you can’t avoid it, and you’re taking posed shots, have your subject point their chin up so the light cascades upwards and not down.
3. Don’t forget the details. You want to remember the people around your table, that is a given, but also don’t forget to take photos of the details! Your table settings, the forks, the steam from the freshly carved turkey, the cranberry sauce on your daughter’s face. Set your aperture at 2.5f or wider, focus in on the dried leaves at the center of your table and see how the guests sitting behind them blur. (Remember, the lower the number, the wider the aperture, the more blurry the background will be!) If you don’t know where your aperture setting is, grab your manuel and learn it!
4. Turn OFF your flash. If you are in the habit of keeping your flash on all the time, turn it off for the detail photos and for a good portion of your holiday, especially when the sun is still out!
5. Pay attention to emotions. Guaranteed you’re going to have lots of laughter at your table. Point your camera at your guests, be patient and sooner or later you’ll click the shutter and that perfect emotion shot of your cousins throwing their heads back and laughing will appear.
6. Turn ON your flash. If you begin to feel like you’re paying more attention to your camera than your guests, turn on your flash and pass the camera around! On major holidays the most important thing is that you get photos of the people who were there, not how perfect your camera settings were or how great a shot of the cornucopia you got.
7. Get in the picture! Hand your camera to someone, anyone, and ask them to do camera duty for a few minutes. Tell them specifically to take photos of YOU IN THEM! Otherwise, they will go off into a different room and take photos of Uncle Joe or something like that. Depending on their skill level, either turn the flash on or keep it off and consider the photos they take “artistic” :) I don’t know how many holidays I’ve taken photos at just to realize there was no actual proof that I ever attended the celebration.
My last point might be a no brainer, but still…
8. Put fresh batteries and an empty media card in your camera. Put extra batteries and media card in your pocket. Does this sound familiar? “Ok family! Let’s take a family picture! Oh no…the camera is dead…honey did you bring extra batteries??!! Does anyone have extra batteries?! No??? Uncle Joe…can we use your camera? Mine is dead…no? You didn’t bring yours? Oh no! No one brought a camera except for me and my batteries are dead!” ‘Nuff said.
I’ll come back and share my Thanksgiving photos and hopefully you will too!
I was looking on my external hard drive and found this photo from Thanksgiving 2009! That’s my Lily!