Thanksgiving is the time of year when the extended family comes together. It is sometimes the only time to see family members who live far away. Consequently it is a great time to capture family photos, for generations to come. If it is important to you to document this family get together to be able to remanence on the memories in years to come, these following tips are for you:
- Get the family photo out of the way before the turkey – the best time to take the photo is before the meal – when Uncle Tom’s shirt is still spotless and the newborn baby is awake and full of smiles. Not after the meal, when everyone goes into the “turkey coma” mode and taking a nap is the only thing left to do on the agenda.
- Instead of sitting behind the table, move the chairs and set them up in front of the table, so the beautifully decorated thanksgiving table will create a nice backdrop.
- Tall people go in the back – not so tall people in the front. Same goes with fully figured people stand in the back, less fully figured people stand in the front. It is also nice to have the nuclear families stand together, and create the extended family photo from these smaller groups. For example the son, his wife, and their child stand together to the right of the photo. The daughter and her fiancé stand to the left of the photo. And so on.
- For some reason when it comes to the family photo everyone looks for a wall to cling to. Get away from the wall – either have the table as the backdrop (like I suggested in tip #2), or set up for the family photo in the middle of the living room (which is, of course, decorated beautifully for the special event)
- If there is not enough room for the extended family photo to take place indoors – step outside! The daylight outside will be beautiful right before the meal. Sunset Eastern Time this thanksgiving is at 5:02pm – get your photos taken outdoors during the golden hour – the hour before sunset – and you’re golden! Remember – same rules of organization in front of the camera used indoors apply to the outdoors.
- If you stay indoors make sure you are not standing directly under a ceiling light. Direct light coming from above is an extremity unflattering, and creates shadows under the eyes, nose and mouth (what professional photographers refer to as “Raccoon eyes”). It is better to shoot next to the natural light coming from a big window.
- Since everyone has to be in the photo – yes, including you – the photographer (don’t think you’re getting out of that, go get your hair done!) needs to befriend the self-timer function on your camera (or your smart phone – they have it too). Choose the longest delay available on the self timer, so you will have enough time to run to your pre defined spot in the composite. Set the camera on a ladder, or somewhere taller than a table or a counter top, frame the scene and make sure everyone is seen on the display, press the shutter – and run for your life.
- Make sure everyone can see the camera. If you cannot see the camera – the camera cannot see you, and you will most likely be hidden behind a family member in the final photo. All you have to do is tilt your head a little to the left or to the right – and there you are!
- Since there is a good chance you will want to print this photo, make sure the image size on your camera is set to the highest resolution option.
- Smile and enjoy! No pressure, but this is one of the most important photos you will be part of in your life time. After all, this is the photo that captures your family dynasty for generations to come.
Liked these photo tips? For more tips and to learn photography basics – how to photograph better using anything from your smartphone camera to a beginners SLR –
If you have any questions please CONTACT ME.