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Inspiring Thanksgiving Photoshoot Ideas & Tips for 2023

Thanksgiving is a time for family, feasting, and creating memories. A Thanksgiving photoshoot is a perfect way to document these special moments, and we have gathered a treasure trove of photoshoot ideas to inspire you this holiday season. Whether you’re seeking playful, candid shots or beautifully set Thanksgiving tablescapes, this guide is worth reading.

Essential Photography Tips for Capturing Memorable Thanksgiving Moments

Planning Ahead

Planning the Thanksgiving photoshoot is crucial to ensure a successful session that captures beautiful Thanksgiving pictures. By considering various factors such as location, timing, props, clothing options, and shot lists, you can create cohesive and visually appealing images that will be cherished for years.

Understand the Lighting

Natural light is a photographer’s best friend. Try to use the natural light streaming through windows to the advantage whenever possible. It will provide a soft glow that can make the photos look warm and inviting. Remember to avoid using the flash indoors as it can make the images appear harsh and overexposed.

Don’t Forget the Decor

Thanksgiving is synonymous with beautiful fall decor. Take the time to photograph the details: the candles, the placemats, the vibrant fall centerpieces, and the beautifully set dining table. These images will capture the ambiance of the Thanksgiving gathering.

thanksgiving decor

Candid over Posed

While posed family portraits are great, candid shots often capture the essence of the day more effectively. Keep an eye out for spontaneous moments – kids playing, laughter at a shared joke, or the chef’s satisfied expression as they pull the turkey out of the oven.

Use the Rule of Thirds

Remember the rule of thirds to make the Thanksgiving photos more visually appealing. Imagine a grid on the viewfinder and place the image’s subject at the intersecting points. This simple trick can drastically improve the composition of the pictures.

Shoot in RAW

If the camera can, shooting in RAW format will give you the most flexibility when editing Thanksgiving photos. RAW images capture all the data from the sensor, which will help you to better adjust the exposure and white balance in post-processing.

Include Everyone

Thanksgiving is about gathering together. Make sure to include everyone in the pictures – and that includes you! Use a self-timer or a remote control to get in the photos. Don’t forget the pets; they’re part of the family too.

Capture the Food

Thanksgiving is a foodie’s paradise, from the golden turkey to the array of delicious pies. Use a narrow depth of field to highlight the textures and colors of the food. Try taking shots from various angles – directly above, at the plate level, or even a close-up picture.


Keep the Camera Accessible

Keep the camera nearby throughout the day. You never know when a photo-worthy moment will arise. It’s often the unplanned, candid photos that truly capture the spirit of Thanksgiving.

Be Creative

Don’t limit the self to standard poses and setups. Be creative with the compositions. Use reflections in utensils, play with shadows, or use the autumn foliage outside as a natural backdrop.

Capturing Candid Moments

Candid photoshoots capture the authenticity and emotion of the family during Thanksgiving. These photos are often the most cherished as they genuinely glimpse a family’s dynamics and love for each other. A fun Thanksgiving photoshoot idea is to let the photographer snap pictures without anyone knowing, capturing spontaneous moments of laughter, cooking, playing, or even napping after the feast.

The Classic Thanksgiving Table Shoot

A beautifully laid-out Thanksgiving table, radiant with the Thanksgiving bounty of turkey, sides, and pies, provides a fantastic backdrop for a Thanksgiving photo shoot. Capture the family around the table, either in the middle of the feast or just before it, for a beautiful photo highlighting the family’s favorite Thanksgiving foods and the warmth of the gathering.

Outdoors Thanksgiving Family Fun Photoshoot

You can utilize the beautiful fall leaves in the photos, as Thanksgiving is in the fall. Find a local pumpkin patch or a park with vibrant fall colors for a stunning family photoshoot. Make it a fun family activity by collecting leaves or having a mini picnic.


Highlighting the Preparation

Taking a photo of the Thanksgiving dinner preparations can create an engaging and dynamic shoot. These pictures could be of family members preparing dishes, setting the table, or even basting the Thanksgiving turkey. These photos encapsulate the work and love of preparing the Thanksgiving feast.


The Thanksgiving Portrait Photoshoot

For a more formal approach, opt for a traditional Thanksgiving portrait photoshoot. You could do this at a professional studio or create your setup at home. Dress in the best outfits and capture the family in the joyous Thanksgiving spirit.

A Toast to Thanksgiving – The Clinking Glasses Photo

Toasting to the holiday is a tradition for many families. When everyone raises their glasses to celebrate the occasion, it can make for a great photo. The sparkling drinks, smiles, and a few laughing faces contribute to a vibrant and joyous image.

Thanksgiving Toast

The ‘Cooking Together’ Photoshoot

Thanksgiving is often synonymous with a house full of mouthwatering aromas and bustling kitchen activities. A ‘cooking together’ photoshoot captures the spirit of teamwork, warmth, and the joy of creating a Thanksgiving feast together. These can include candid shots of peeling potatoes, kneading dough, or the kids attempting to help, making for some adorable pictures.

“Pass the Gravy” – Mealtime Candid

There’s no better time to catch the authentic interaction of the family than during the meal. From “Pass the gravy” to the kids’ funny faces when they try cranberry for the first time or grandma slicing the turkey, these moments will encapsulate the genuine essence of the family’s Thanksgiving tradition.

The Grandparents’ Love Shot

Grandparents add a layer of warmth and love to any picture. Capture the special bond between grandparents and grandchildren in a heartfelt photoshoot. These shots can range from a grandparent sharing a story to a loving hug or shared laughter, creating memories you’ll cherish for years.


The Epic Group Shot

End the Thanksgiving photoshoot with an epic group shot, including every family member. From the youngest baby to the oldest grandparent, having everyone in one frame can make for a touching and memorable photograph. You can arrange everyone around the Thanksgiving table or in the living room, wherever suits the family best.

Group Shot

The “Decorating the Home” Photo

If the family decorates the home for Thanksgiving, remember to document this as part of the photoshoot. From setting up the Thanksgiving centerpiece to hanging autumn wreaths, these shots will be beautiful and capture the anticipation and excitement leading up to the feast.

The “Pre-Feast Excitement” Shot

The moments leading up to the Thanksgiving meal are filled with anticipation and excitement. Capture the sparkling eyes of children as they eye the turkey, the hustle and bustle in the kitchen, or the final table arrangements. These pre-feast photos can add a fun and dynamic element to the photo shoot.

The “Family Laughter” Shot

Nothing is more heartwarming than a genuine family laugh, where everyone shares a joke or a funny moment. These candid, unposed shots can become some of the most treasured family photos, filled with raw emotion and the pure joy of the occasion.


The “Thanksgiving Traditions” Photo

Every family has its unique Thanksgiving traditions. Whether a game of football, a particular dish, or a unique way of giving thanks, these traditions can create unique and personalized photos. Capture these moments that define the family’s special Thanksgiving celebration.

The “First Thanksgiving” Shot

If a new family member is celebrating their first Thanksgiving, it’s a moment worth capturing. Be it a newborn, a newlywed, or a friend celebrating Thanksgiving for the first time, their reactions and experiences can make for a memorable photoshoot.

Baby First Thanksgiving
Photo by RDNE Stock project

The “Pets Included” Photo

Pets are part of the family too. Including the pets in the Thanksgiving, photoshoot can lead to some adorable and fun pictures. You can capture candid moments of the pets trying to sneak a bite from the table or posing with the family in cute Thanksgiving outfits.

The Family Game Time Photo

Family games are integral to many Thanksgiving celebrations, making them a great addition to the shot list. Capture the family while engrossed in a game of football or a board game. These action shots are sure to be filled with high-energy and genuine emotions.

Family Game Time

The “Giving Thanks” Photo

Thanksgiving is all about expressing gratitude. Capture the moment when the family is giving thanks. That can be during a prayer, a toast, or a family tradition of sharing what each person is grateful for. These pictures will reflect the true spirit of Thanksgiving and the bond of the family.

The Post-Dinner Relaxation Photos

After the feast comes relaxation, which can make for amusing and endearing pictures. Whether it’s an uncle napping on the couch, kids playing with their food, or adults having a casual chat, these shots capture  


Bonus Idea: Thanksgiving DIY Photoshoot

Get creative with props and decorations for a DIY Thanksgiving photoshoot. Dress up in matching Thanksgiving outfits or use items like festive headbands, Pilgrim hats, or feather headdresses. Using props can add a playful element to the photoshoot, making it a fun experience for kids and adults.

In conclusion, Thanksgiving is a time of togetherness and creating lasting memories. Remember, the goal is to enjoy the day and take pictures reflecting the true spirit of the family’s Thanksgiving celebration. Happy Thanksgiving, and have a fantastic photoshoot!


There are many fun and inspiring Thanksgiving photoshoot ideas, such as taking photos at a pumpkin patch, capturing candid moments with family and friends, and doing a festive food photography session.

Make sure to plan, choose a location, gather the props and outfits, and communicate the vision with the client or photographer to get the best results.

 Some cute ideas for babies include dressing them up in festive outfits, capturing their first Thanksgiving moments, and taking pictures with holiday-themed props.

Choose a scenic location with good lighting, coordinate outfits or colors, and capture candid moments and family memories.

You can capture the kids’ excitement for the holiday season by taking pictures while playing with fall leaves, decorating pumpkins, or indulging in delicious Thanksgiving treats.

Some tips include ensuring everyone is comfortable and relaxed, using a tripod to stabilize the camera, and taking several shots to get the best result.

You can take photos in the kitchen while cooking or baking, capture moments of the family gathering around the table to eat, or even get fun props like turkey hats or festive banners to add excitement.

Some great locations include a pumpkin patch, a local park with fall foliage, or even the comfort of your home.

Communicate the vision with the photographer, choose a location with good lighting and scenery, and ensure everyone is comfortable and having fun to capture genuine and candid moments.

Some fun props include pumpkins, fall leaves, festive banners, turkey hats, and even a makeshift photo booth with fun decorations.

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