How to Take BETTER Family Photos This Thanksgiving – Artistic Denver Wedding Photographer

Love real smiles like these from fellow photographers Randy + Ashley Studios! Keep reading for my tips about how to get better photos of YOUR family this Thanksgiving! Love real smiles like these from fellow photographers Randy + Ashley Studios! Keep reading for my tips about how to get better photos of YOUR family this Thanksgiving!

Ohh Thanksgiving. No pressure of gift-giving. No potentially polarizing religious beliefs. Probably no snow yet.

Just sweaters, wine, a feast, and celebrating fall and family. That’s my kinda holiday!

It’s also often a time that families get together from far and wide to enjoy and celebrate the things for which they’re grateful. Which, if you’re an artistic Denver wedding photographer, you KNOW means it’s a prime opportunity for photos.

In honor of this delicious holiday, I’ve put together some tips for taking better family photos this Thanksgiving.

1. Skip the ‘cheese’. I know I know, it’s a steady go-to. Picking another prompt can be cheesy or goofy and maybe you’re not trying to draw that much attention to yourself. With much love and much respect, I suggest you forget about your hang ups and get silly. There are so many creative tips and prompts out there to get more authentic photos. Here are a few you can try:

 Pick someone with no shame in your family (every family has one!) And ask people about the silliest thing they’ve done. When they start laughing, snap away!

 Instead of “CHEESE”, have people guess each other’s favorite Thanksgiving side dish. Promise you’ll get laughs when your family members are WAY off!

Have them point to the person in the family who is most likely to clear their plate or have LOTS of leftovers.

2.  Repeat after me: I will be in as many photos as possible. Whether you hand off the camera or take a quick selfie, please please PLEASE get in those frames.

The #existinphotos movement has gotten BIG online for a reason – it’s too easy to hide behind the camera and not be a part of the day. But you ARE a part of the day, and when it’s over, the photos are all you will have left. Even if you’ve put on a few pounds or don’t like your outfit or need to get your hair done, get in those photos anyway. I know it’s uncomfortable, but I promise you – someone, sometime, will be SO glad to see your smiling face.

3. Avoid overhead lights. OK YOU GUYS. This is how you know I have your back. This is embarrassing, but you need to know it! I’ve taken some questionable photos of myself to demonstrate my point. Hang out by nice natural light. Go outside if you can. I know, it’s kind of annoying, but if you ask nicely, your family members will oblige you!

 

Starting with the well lit photo because I AM SO VAIN! There is a nice big window immediately to my right in this photo. Starting with the well lit photo because I AM SO VAIN! There is a nice big window immediately to my right in this photo. This isn't too bad, either! The big window is right in front of me here. This isn’t too bad, either! The big window is right in front of me here. GOD HELP ME I HOPE YOU ARE VIEWING THIS ON A PHONE AND NOT ON A DESKTOP.  Here I am in my kitchen - the light is directly above me and it is NOT working. THE HORROR. GOD HELP ME I HOPE YOU ARE VIEWING THIS ON A PHONE AND NOT ON A DESKTOP.  Here I am in my kitchen – the light is directly above me and it is NOT working. THE HORROR.

 

4. Don’t post anything without permission. Honestly, I think one of the reasons people are afraid of getting their photos taken is that they assume they’ll be online in 30 seconds. I’d recommend instead posting the photos in a private place online where people can download the images and post if they’d like to. You can use Dropbox or Pixieset – they both have free options. Just a warning, though, Pixieset is quite a bit more complicated!

5. Don’t always worry about the smiling. Get some authentic moments of people cooking, watching football, and enjoying the day. Sometimes these are the most REAL moments that you end up loving! Channel your inner artistic Denver wedding photographer.

And two BONUS recommendations:

1.  Hire a pro to get a REAL portrait and don’t even mess with trying to get a photo with everyone. I still have TWO Denver Extended Family Thanksgiving sessions available, and I’d LOVE to photograph your family!

2. Get a selfie stick. It’s kinda basic, but it’s a great way to get a flattering angle AND make sure you’re in those images. (See #2 above!)

OK, that’s all I have for now! What do you think about these tips? Would you try them? Let me know if you do – I’d love to see how they worked for you!

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