5 Things to Photograph on Thanksgiving Day

When I think back to my archive of turkey day photos, it appears I have a one track mind. I whip out the camera as soon as the food arrives. I take a bunch of shots of the dishes.... ok, let’s be real, I photograph the pie mainly. And then I snap a few of people eating before putting away the camera and joining the feast.

But hang on, there's a lot more to the story. Holidays are special. The pace of the day is slower The moments are rarer. The stories surrounding the meal are the ones to remember.

It's about the journey, not the destination.

This article looks at the stories hidden in between the obvious holiday moments, to help create photos that capture the essence of the day.

1. The Journey

Holidays mean we might give extra care to getting ready for the day. Perhaps you gave your kids a special morning bath because it’s a special day, and why not pull out all of the stops today!? Take a few snapshots as your family works together, patiently if we have little ones, to ensure a perfect, comfortable look to be with our loved ones.

2. The Kid Table

While the adults sit around and sip their Thanksgiving punch, the kids play unsupervised in their own worlds. This happens before and after the meal, they barely sit down for 10 minutes to eat anyway. I like peeking into this space to capture a moment between kids who are calling the shots for the day.

3. Full Belly, Legs Up

What about those full-belly, legs-up, cozy-cozy-conversations that happen after the meal. One or two snapshots of this scene can bring me back to a time where I remember how it felt: the smells, the amazing dinner we had, the constant hum of dishes being washed, conversation going in and out, grandpa sleeping on the couch, this beautiful melody of relaxed business that happens in a house.

4. Community

When I think about what value the holidays bring is that it brings people together. Take pictures of your guests who don’t always get a chance to connect. Document the coming together of families and celebrate the special people you have in your life and you’d be grateful to remember.

This is also a chance to get portraits of everyone! Carefully time your picture to get someone mid-smile or laugh for a portrait that shows character.

Here's a picture of my grandpa on Thanksgiving Day 2007.

5. Rituals

I come from Wisconsin, so we spend a lot of time hanging out indoors. It’s cold outside, so we fill our bellies and watch a game of football. Here's another shot from Thanksgiving 2007. I

Two years ago, my family and I went for a hike at Land's End. Document any special walks or outdoor activities you do. These shots will capture the relaxing pace of the day, or maybe the gratitude that is felt to be outdoors and with family.

Now Go Forth and Document The Day

I'm feeling inspired to step out of my comfort zone and take intentional photos throughout the entire day so that I can remember the story this year. I'll share them with you!

I hope this has inspired you too! I'd love to see any work you're proud of.



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