Gobble, gobble

So it’s time for Thanksgiving and that means a real photo-op that we can take advantage of to make a great Christmas card. Let’s do it!

Gathering the group in close and personal, is rule number one. Getting everyone to look straight at the camera is rule number two. Having fun is rule number three! (Because if you aren’t having fun, your subjects won’t be having fun. We want smiles, not frowns.)

Before you shoot, vet your background. That’s important because we know that a poor background will ruin our images quicker than cranberry sauce all over our favorite blouse. Here’s a background we plan to avoid.


The lighting from lamps and sconces can be a problem. In this one, the light from the sconces is distracting and can be avoided so easily by just finding another spot to stage the photo.

Ok. Got it. But usually finding a good background inside is easier said than done. Hum… work it, work it…what to do? Let’s move in really close. That will automatically eliminate as much of the background as possible.

Good. We moved in super close. If you are using a cell phone, it’s tricky because the cell has a wide-angle lens more appropriate to landscape photography or large groups. It’s hard to get warm and fuzzy into a close up with a cell phone.

So do the best you can and then crop the image in your software program. A cell phone image doesn’t have many pixels to start with, so you will lose some resolution, (sharpness)but for a small 4×6 Christmas card, a tight crop will work just fine.

Let’s see, what else? Stairways work for a group image, so if you’ve got one, that’s the ticket.

It’s a party, not a Thanksgiving family group, but it illustrates the concept.

Don’t forget to have your batteries charged and ready to go. If you are using an SLR camera, the on camera flash should do the trick. The technology is fairly foolproof unless you are shooting a group of animals in a dark arena where you need to add at least one stop more power to your flash, but that’s another story and we aren’t going there now because it’s Thanksgiving, not a shoot on the show circuit. But that said, I often use flash even when my camera meter doesn’t “think ” I need it. So try experimenting with your flash before you take important pictures and find the settings that work best with your camera in the light you are in.

If you are shooting with a cell inside, manually set the flash to fire. If you leave it on automatic, the cell is going to make that decision for you. Don’t let it. It’s Thanksgiving…you have a great photo-op in front of you. Don’t blow it. Give your family a big hug with your camera. Three words to remember. Move in close.

Gobble, gobble…

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