Thanksgiving has become one of the most popular holidays for families to reunite and spend the long weekend eating, reminiscing and enjoying each other's company. Documenting the events for the family photo album should be a priority. To make these special moments memorable, try some of the following tips and techniques. Russell Burden, Digital Photo Academy
Make a group shot: Regardless of the number of visiting relatives, make sure you get whole group photographs. Create an arrangement of people that looks clean and organized. If it's a large group, build layers wherein some people are seated on the ground, some are kneeling, and some are standing. Factor in size, place and the color of their clothing. An outdoor photo made in a scenic location can yield a great shot.
Candids: The focus of Thanksgiving is family, therefore candids of the cooks and helpers, and special moments of the young ones, make great keepsakes. People tend to congregate in the kitchen or in front of the TV, so try to capture all who are there as they interact. If nothing interesting is going on, work on what I refer to as "posed candids." Ask your subjects to give each other a big bear hug or do something funny. Grab the shot capturing the smiles and happiness on their faces.
The table: Don't overlook dining room tables adorned with holiday decor as photographic subjects. More than likely, the dining room will be lit by tungsten light. Combined with the light from the candles on the table, a warm tone will appear in your pictures. If you're shooting with a digital camera, leave the white balance set for outdoors. Add a bit of fill flash so the shadow areas show detail.
An appetizer: A group snapshot around the table or serving area makes a great Thanksgiving photograph. Invite all of the guests to join in around the table. With the camera on a tripod, set the self timer so you'll be able to include yourself in the image. Take a number shots to make sure there's one in which all eyes are open and all the subjects have pleasing expressions. Adding flash puts a twinkle in everyone's eyes. If your system allows you to use flash at a slow synch setting, try it. You'll get a combination of the warm glow from the tungsten light along with the true colors of the environment recorded by the flash.
The events: Bring the camera along to document any activity, event or outing your family may enjoy before or after the meal. Wait for a decisive moment. It could be a warm smile, a hug or something funny.
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