For some, the best part about Thanksgiving is the food. For me, it’s the opportunity to make new memories with my family — especially those who I don’t see often. I’m always looking for ways to document this special time together and family photos are a
must. Whether you opt to hire a professional photographer for a scheduled Thanksgiving-themed photoshoot or want to capture your own snaps on the holiday, these ideas for Thanksgiving family pictures can help you create memorable images that you can cherish for years to come.
Families come in all shapes and sizes. Whether you’re the type of people who get dressed to the nines and set a fancy table, like to shop until you drop on Black Friday, watch the big game together while you eat, get in a solid couch nap after you gorge yourself on turkey and yams, or all of the above, a Thanksgiving family picture should capture the true spirit of who you are as a family. After all, the holiday itself is about being grateful for what you have, so why not show off exactly that with your photo?
So, gather all your little turkeys, throw some leaves in the air, and use these ideas for Thanksgiving family pictures to inspire your own holiday photoshoot.
1 Dress For Fall
Coordinating outfits for family photos — especially when you’re dealing with extended family — can be a struggle. Many photographers suggest picking a color palette and theme and having family members dress accordingly, avoiding busy patterns when possible.
Your background also matters, but for a Thanksgiving photoshoot, it’s hard to go wrong with colors and attire inspired by the season. Think golds, oranges, rusty red, and even forest green with cardigans, scarves, khakis, or denim.
2 Take Candid Meal Prep Photos
On any other day of the year, meal prep is a pretty mundane affair. But on Thanksgiving, it’s an extravagant affair where precious memories are made. Capture candid photos of your family together in the kitchen and they’re sure to be cherished for years to come.
3 Consider Your Setting skynesher/E+/Getty Images
Especially if you’re not using a professional photographer for Thanksgiving family pictures, it’s important to plan where you’ll set everything up ahead of the big day so that you’re not scrambling last-minute to try to squeeze everyone into the shot. Do you have an indoor space large enough to hold your entire family, but with enough depth to place a camera in a spot where you can all be in the frame? Will the weather cooperate for an outdoor shot? These are key questions to ask yourself.
4 Use All The Gourds & Pumpkins
It almost goes without saying that pumpkins, gourds, cornucopias, and the like are the absolute best seasonal props to use for a Thanksgiving family picture. You can gather in a pumpkin patch, arrange gourds of all shapes and sizes around the edges of the shot’s frame, have some family members sit on oversized pumpkins — the sky is truly the limit here. If you’re at all unsure whether or not you have too many pumpkins in your photo, the answer your looking for is that you can
never have too many pumpkins in a fall-themed photoshoot. 5 Capture Cherished Traditions
Think of things that are meaningful to your family on Thanksgiving and find a way to incorporate it into your family photo. For example, if the act of blessing your food is something that’s important to your family, you can set up a photo where you’re holding hands around the table before the meal. Or, maybe your family plays a game of backyard football every year and you can all pose with the ball. Whatever makes your family’s Thanksgiving day special can make your photos equally significant.
6 Utilize Fall Leaves
Lay in them, throw them in the air, make a pile and jump in them — however you want to do it, fall leaves can add some serious color to your Thanksgiving family photos. If you’re working with a photographer, they’ll probably have suggestions for where to find incredible fall foliage and ideas for how to incorporate it into your photoshoot.
7 Include Extravagant Table Settings
If you spent your entire fall decor budget on fancy linens and napkin rings or want to capture your great-grandmother’s china on the one day of the year that you actually use it, a Thanksgiving family photo is the perfect way to document a grand tablescape. You can take a photo with everyone seated around the table, standing in front of it, or try having some sit and some stand to add some depth to the shot.
8 Take Black Friday Shopping Photos
If your family’s favorite part of Thanksgiving is being first in line to score the biggest deals on Black Friday, it makes sense to incorporate that aspect of the holiday into your Thanksgiving photoshoot. You can capture the spirit of Black Friday shopping by posing with a bunch of shopping bags ahead of time or wait until you actually go shopping and take photos with your entire haul.
9 Show What You’re Thankful For
Make or buy signs that say things like “blessed” or “thankful” to hold up or place strategically in your family photo. This idea works for both professional photoshoots and those you take yourself of your family at Thanksgiving.
10 Document Post-Dinner Naps
One hilarious Thanksgiving family event to capture on film is a post-meal nap. You can line everyone up on the couch and pretend you’re all asleep in front of the football game on TV or pile everyone in bed with stretchy pants on. Thanksgiving nap photos can also be sweet too, like candid snaps of your little one cuddled up with grandpa on the couch or Aunt Sally mid-yawn.
11 Put Your Baby In A Turkey Pot
Another way to capture your family’s awesome sense of humor in a Thanksgiving family picture is to have the youngest member of your family be the turkey. Yes, a baby in a pumpkin is utterly adorable in the fall, but a baby in a turkey pot is peak Thanksgiving.
12 Use A Selfie Stick Or Camera Timer
If you’re not already familiar with the timer on your phone’s camera, take some time to figure out how it works prior to Turkey Day so that you can get a great group shot without a tripod or expensive camera equipment. A selfie stick that extends your reach to get everyone in the photo is another option to try if you have one on hand. After all, nothing says “modern holiday gathering” quite like a group selfie. (Except for maybe a screenshot of that 2020 Thanksgiving dinner you had via Zoom.)