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Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones


My plans have changed due to poor weather conditions here in the Seattle area. I won’t be going to Bellingham to be with my sister and nieces for the big celebration.

I’ll be having dinner here with friends instead.

Wherever you are, I hope your day is going well.

If you’re like me and love photos, here are some tips from Ritz Camera on how to take Thanksgiving photos:

Set up a photo area

Pick a room or location, preferably near a big window for natural light. Set up a backdrop for the photos using a sheet or neutral colored fabric on a wall near the window, but not on the same wall as the window. Then, set up a chair or stool about 10 feet in front of the backdrop if space allows, or closer if the room is too small. Use this space to take informal portraits of small groups throughout the day.

There might not be enough room for a large group shot, and smaller group shots are more fun anyway. For example, snap a few shots of grandma holding the new baby, or of the teenage cousins hanging out together. Use fun combinations of people, and keep the shoot short and fun for everyone.

Set up your subjects in front of the camera with the window lighting them from the side. Don’t set them up directly in front of the window, unless you want silhouettes. Instead, set them up so the window is to their right or left, out of the shot. Angle them slightly towards the light coming in, and if possible, use a large white board – like a marker board – as a reflector on the opposite side. So, from your perspective, you and the camera are looking at the subjects, the window is off to one side, and the reflector is positioned on the other side.

Raise your ISO to 400 or 800. If you have an external flash, use it, but aim the bulb at the ceiling to bounce the light down rather than shooting it straight at your subjects. Stand back as far as you can and zoom in, even if your back is up against the wall. Take several shots, and tell everyone to just relax and have fun.

Take candid photos

With candid shots, you want to capture people acting naturally, whether they are sitting and chatting, cooking, hanging out on the couch, or outside playing some fall football. Try not to interrupt people, and if people stop what they are doing and pose, take one posed shot, encourage them to go back to what they were doing, and keep taking photos.

Use the same camera settings as the photo area portraits: aim the flash up to the ceiling if possible, use natural light, and raise your ISO to 400 or 800.

Also, take a few groups shots with everyone at the table. Ask one half of the table to stand up behind the other seated half, and include the set table in the foreground. If you try to take a group shot of everyone sitting, you’ll end up with the sides and backs of heads in the shot.

The photo above is my sister with the new baby in our family at our 2008 Thanksgiving celebration. She used one of my photos on her Christmas card.

Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you have a great day.

Copyright 2010, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist


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What a cute baby. Thanksgiving photos are so much fun!


Hi Lisa,

Yes, Thanksgiving Photos are great. It was fun to find the Ritz Camera tips. I don't know if people in my family would like the photo area, but people are usually good about smiling in small groups.

Of course, taking photos of the turkey and Thanksgiving table is fun because I can use them on my blogs next year.

Happy Thanksgiving,

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