What sounds better than coming together around the table for Thanksgiving dinner to celebrate how much our friends and family mean to us and to reflect on the year with gratitude? More than any other year, this year’s Thanksgiving dinner is one you will want to remember. Whether you’re hosting a fancy family dinner or attending a dinner party at a loved one’s home, making and capturing the special moments around the dinner table have never been more important. Master the art of taking the best Thanksgiving photos and commemorating the start of the holiday season using the tips below!

How to Take the Best Thanksgiving Pics

Thanksgiving selfie with pumpkins

The smell of the Thanksgiving turkey and pumpkin pie wafting through the air. The cornucopia bursting with the holiday bounty. The warmth of friends and family sipping apple cider around a crackling fire. If only we could capture and hold on to the feelings these scenes evoke throughout the year. What better way to remember these moments than by snapping sentimental photos that will remind you of your Thanksgiving celebration and sharing them with your social media followers near and far? Even if you’re not a professional photographer, there are a few common photography tips and tricks that will elevate your pics of Thanksgiving day. Here’s how you can prepare yourself to take the best snaps of the season! 

Pictures of Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving menu

Photographing the magic of a special celebration is more than just capturing the details of the event. With so many different scenes to choose from, your photos will range from quiet moments between relatives and shots of the host carving the turkey.

  • Plan Ahead

Try to arrive at the venue early on Thanksgiving day to get a feel for the environment you’ll be shooting in. Notice the spaces that will give you the best opportunities to shoot the best photos. You can also experiment with different lighting and find the best spots to focus on when the room is filled with friends and family. This is also the best time to chat with the host and early arrivers to get a sense of the party’s energy and establish a vision for your awesome Thanksgiving photos!

  • Keep It Candid

While planning and mapping out your shots is smart and useful, the best event photos are taken when your subjects are least expecting it. Keep it spontaneous! Snap plenty of shots of laughing, engaged guests or quiet, sentimental moments to memorialize the occasion. These are the best times to catch a clever expression or a conversation that your guests will remember until next Thanksgiving!

  • Go Behind the Scenes

Sometimes the best Thanksgiving dinner photos are the ones that capture the reality of the event. You might find the best moments in the kitchen while the Thanksgiving feast is being prepared or when the perfect bottle of cabernet is being selected from the wine cellar. Is somebody decorating the holiday table? Get a close-up shot of them setting the place cards on each plate or sprucing up the centerpieces before guests arrive.

  • Blend in 

Don’t distract your guests sitting around the holiday table and don’t try to take their attention away from the moment. Guests may feel uncomfortable being photographed if they know the camera is on them. Strive to blend into the background to take the best fly-on-the-wall photos. 

  • Find the Action

Are all the guests gathered in conversation in one spot or has the attention been turned to the kitchen? Keep snapping during a sentimental toast or an exciting game for the best action shots of the festive evening.

  • Capture the Decorations

Your host probably spent a lot of time sprucing up their home for Thanksgiving dinner. Honor their hard work and capture the special touches that made the Thanksgiving celebration special. 

Thanksgiving decor with plate and utencils

  • Get the Group Together

Don’t forget to commemorate the occasion when every family member was together in the same room. Gather the whole group at any point in the evening to get a good group shot. For the best photos of the freshest faces, try to get everyone together earlier in the evening before the food coma sets in! Be sure to take several shots. You never know whose eyes will be closed or who will be running to jump into the picture at the last minute. Your family photo albums will be filled with these memories for years to come.

Thanksgiving Turkey Pics

Ah, the Thanksgiving turkey. The pièce de résistance of the Thanksgiving dinner table. No matter who’s doing the carving, the centerpiece of the holiday table must be photographed, no questions asked! But there is an art to getting the most delectable shots of your turkey dinner.

  • Set the Stage

With any good food photo, your money shot is not only about the main subject. You have to have the right serving platter, good garnishes, complementary cutlery, and serving utensils, and, of course, a great backdrop. Feel free to rearrange the table to create the most attractive scene.

  • Find Your Angles

Like any good subject, your turkey dinner deserves the spotlight. But getting a photo from just any angle won’t do the trick. the top of the turkey is probably not your best shot at photography gold.

  • Focus on the Details

Is your Thanksgiving turkey garnished with something special? Does your juicy turkey dinner look too good to eat as it roasts in a hot oven? Focus on the finishes that will set your turkey shot apart!

  • Get an Action Shot

The Thanksgiving table offers ample opportunities for good action shots, especially of the turkey. Whether it’s being basted, carved, served, or eaten, make sure you capture those moments when the bird of the season is being savored.

Thanksgiving Meal Pictures

What’s your favorite part of the Thanksgiving dinner? Even though the turkey is the highlight of the Thanksgiving table, don’t forget to appreciate the savory side dishes and delectable desserts that complement the big bird.

  • What’s on the Side

A little bit of research goes a long way when you’re laying out your Thanksgiving meal pictures. Find out what the host plans to serve (Brussels sprouts? Green bean casserole? Cranberry sauce?) and get to snapping!

Thanksgiving pumpkin soup

  • Keep It Fresh
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Don’t wait until the cornbread is attacked by ravenous forks before you start capturing your Thanksgiving meal! Start snapping when things are still hot and steamy and untouched by the hungry guests around the table. Pro tip: Click away as soon as food starts coming out of the oven or the kitchen.

  • Include Guests

Even though the food on the table will get the spotlight, don’t forget to feature loved ones in your photos. Shots of guests dishing up their dinner plates or reaching over to grab another bread roll will make for great candids and paint the perfect holiday table scene. 

Thanksgiving dinner photo with group

Thanksgiving Table Images

Your holiday hosts will likely be preparing their tablescapes well in advance. A lot of hard work goes into picking the perfect tablecloths, chargers, place settings, and centerpieces to complement the delicious Thanksgiving dinner that will be served. Don’t let all of that hard work go to waste! Take the best Thanksgiving table photos to honor your gracious hosts. 

  • Bring the Right Camera

Your smartphone will come in handy in a pinch and has many of the settings and features that will help you snap the most special photos of the holiday. If you own a DSLR camera, you can take your photos of your Thanksgiving celebration to the next level and ensure the highest quality in case you want to make prints to give to your loved ones as gifts or add them to a photo album. 

  • Mind the Lighting

Moody, evening lighting, and candlelight don’t make for the best conditions for indoor photography. If you’re working with dim lighting, make sure to change your white balance settings to balance out the warm, yellow tones that indoor lighting creates. Neutralize your lighting with a Kelvin setting of 2,000 to 3,000 to achieve a golden glow. 

  • Create the Perfect Composition

After all of the mains and side dishes hit the table, it might be hard to find your focus. The holiday table can be too cluttered to zero in on your intended subject, so feel free to reposition the items on the table to create your perfect vignette! Remove stray herbs and clean up crumbs to eliminate unwanted distractions. You’d be surprised at how dramatically this elevates your shot.

Ideas for the Best Thanksgiving Posts

After you’ve curated the perfect collection of photos from your Thanksgiving dinner table, it’s time to start thinking about how to share them. The holidays are a time when many of your friends and family will be putting their best Thanksgiving-themed photos and artwork. Stand out from the rest by following some of the tips below to create and share the best seasonal content! Or create your own mood board to set your color scheme for everything from your tablescape to your social posts expressing gratitude for friends and family.

Thanksgiving Social Media Post Ideas

Thanksgiving photo with group near a lake

  • Timeless Traditions

Does your family have a fun and timeless Thanksgiving tradition that begs to be memorialized on your Instagram feed? Whether your family participates in an annual Turkey Trot, walks in the town Thanksgiving parade, or plays a game of football at the park or Uno for hours on end after the plates are cleared, share those wonderful and sometimes wacky family moments with your friends. They may get a laugh or they may be inspired to start their own family tradition next year!

  • Capture the Food Coma

We’ve all been there. When the Thanksgiving dinner is expanding in your belly and the post-dinner drowsiness sets in, you can’t help find the nearest recliner fast enough. Snap your snoozing relatives or take this opportunity to get them talking about their favorite moments of the evening. 

  • Black Friday

Catch the hustle and bustle of your holiday shopping adventures by documenting your family shopping trip the morning after your Thanksgiving dinner. Snap all of the best sales and the frenzied fellow shoppers for your followers.

  • Dinner Disasters

Did dad burn the turkey? Did the bag of cranberries rip open sending tiny balls flying into the corners of the kitchen? Did one of your relatives get too close to the candlelight? Thanksgiving dinner is the perfect storm for capturing holiday blunders on camera. Don’t be shy to document the day’s (fun and harmless) disasters!

  • Keep the Gratitude Going

Whether you’re an amateur content creator or a social media manager, focusing on the spirit of the occasion will make for a meaningful and easily shareable social media post. A thoughtful quote placed on a festive background is the easiest and most eye-catching way to share the meaning of the season with your fans and followers.

Thanksgiving Images Ideas

  • Frame It up!

You’ve snapped the perfect Thanksgiving photo and you’re dying to share it with your friends. But it’s missing one thing: a festive border to add some holiday charm to your cute pic! Experiment with fun frames to add extra flair to your photos. 

  • A Thanksgiving Toast

 Add cool graphics and stickers to your Thanksgiving dinner snaps to take them from ordinary to seasonal and spectacular! Don’t forget to catch clinking glasses around the table to capture the merriment.

  • A Slice of Pie

You spent hours rolling out the dough, mixing the filling, and laying the perfect lattice over the top of your signature holiday pie. Make your followers drool with a masterfully composed and edited pie pic!

  • The Holiday Spread

Let your holiday table shine! Zoom in on your Thanksgiving meal to keep your friends and followers drooling. 

  • Cool Collages

We can’t get enough of the autumnal spirit, so we support your need to gather all of your favorite Thanksgiving things in one photo. Use the PicsArt Collage Maker to put together the Thanksgiving collage of your dreams! 

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