18 Sweet Thanksgiving Family Photo Ideas 

Published September 8, 2022
Photo of big family sit feast dishes table around roasted turkey

Christmas photos are the highlight of the year for many families, but don't overlook Thanksgiving as an opportunity to snap some amazing pictures of loved ones present at your family feast. You don't have to be a professional photographer to capture your family memories at your Thanksgiving celebrations. All you need is your phone or camera, a little patience, and some creativity to preserve these important moments and share them with others.

Candid Thanksgiving Family Photo Ideas

Catch your family in real-life moments this holiday with these fun ideas. All you have to do is be ready with your camera during the grand and subtle Thanksgiving moments that matter.

Turkey Time

When it's time to pull the turkey out of the oven, have your camera ready to snap some great photos of your family admiring the bird. Before the turkey comes out, take a quick look around for the most ideal light by your oven. If possible, stand with the light to your back so the best light falls on the turkey and the people making it.

Young happy man taking out baked Thanksgiving turkey from the oven

Serving the Bird

Another great turkey photo involves the moment the cook places the turkey on the table. You can capture everyone's reactions and the cook's pride in their accomplishment. Take photos from several angles for this one if you can, so you can show as many views of this big Thanksgiving moment as possible.

Happy father bringing Thanksgiving turkey to the table

Guests Arriving

One unusual but special Thanksgiving family photo idea is to capture the moment guests arrive for the big feast. Stand behind the host and take photos as everyone comes up the front walk, takes off their coats, and greets one another. These will be unique and real photos of family connection on the holiday.

Woman welcoming guests to Thanksgiving

Happy Helpers

Thanksgiving dinner is a team effort, so grab some candid shots of the helpers, too. Photograph kids setting the table, people pouring drinks, and everyone helping arrange the food for the big dinner. The key to capturing these is making sure you're ready when the action happens; just be on watch in the dining room with your camera and grab as many photos as you can.

Girl with Thanksgiving gourd and plates

Behind the Scenes

While the dinner is usually the main event, plenty of action happens behind the scenes on this holiday. Some of your favorite Thanksgiving family pictures may be of the background action. Photograph kids being silly, people chatting, and everyone just relaxing and having fun. Take a ton of photos so everyone will get comfortable with the camera and maybe even forget it's there.

Family and friends celebrating thanksgiving

Interactions That Matter

The best candid Thanksgiving family photos capture real interactions between people. Watch for people hugging, adults playing with kids, and other special connections in your family. Have your camera ready to catch these moments, which will be among your best family photos.

Grandfather playing with his grandkids at Thanksgiving

Ideas for Thanksgiving Family Pictures at the Table

Thanksgiving dinner is the main event of this holiday celebration for many families. You can record some of the special dinner moments with these picture ideas.

Drumstick for Dinner

Kids love eating the drumsticks from the turkey, and this traditional part of Thanksgiving dinner is a perfect opportunity for photos. Because this picture involves action and movement, take tons of shots and make sure there's enough light for the camera's shutter to stop the action.

Boy eating turkey leg at Thanksgiving

Table From Above

Show all the food and the family too with a Thanksgiving table photo taken from above. To take this kind of photo, stand on a chair or step ladder and use the widest angle lens you have. Most cell phone cameras can do this shot well. Have everyone hold hands so you can show the family connections.

Family Having Traditional Holiday Stuffed Turkey Dinner

Kids' Table

If you have a separate table for the younger members of the family, don't forget to take a lot of photos of the kids gathered around it. This is a wonderful way to show the relationship between cousins, friends, siblings, and other young family members. Slip away from the grown-up table for a few minutes to capture the action with the younger members of the family.

Thanksgiving kids table

Grandparents' Kiss

If your family has multiple generations gathered together, take a few photos of the grandparents showing how much they love each other. These are special moments, and you'll treasure the photos you take of them. It's extra fun if you include the younger family members' responses to this display of affection.

Family having fun and toasting with drinks at dining table

Gratitude Sign

Have a younger family member make a sign about gratitude and add lots of drawings or paintings for decoration. Then take some photos with the sign and the artist who made it, making sure the Thanksgiving table is there in the background. This is a fun Thanksgiving photoshoot idea that really captures what makes this holiday important.

Happy girl holding sign during Thanksgiving meal with her parents and grandparents

Thanksgiving Toast

Another fun Thanksgiving family photo idea is to capture the toast if you have one during your dinner. Start shooting photos just before everyone raises their glasses and keep shooting until all the glass clinking is done. You can sort through the photos later to pick the best one.

Happy extended family toasting during Thanksgiving lunch at home

Thanksgiving Photo Shoot Ideas for After Dinner

After the meal is over and the dishes are washed, many families head outside for some fun. Whether you stage an official photo shoot for some fall family photos or just capture some of the action on the fly, these ideas will help.

The Big Game

If your family plays football or other family games on Thanksgiving, get out there with your camera to capture some shots of the game. This is a situation where you should take as many photos as possible, since people are moving quickly and not posing for your camera. You'll end up with some you love.

Family playing football in backyard at Thanksgiving

After-Dinner Hike

Head out for a hike after dinner and get some great photos of everyone enjoying nature. If you're shooting as the sun is going down, make sure you set your ISO to a higher number or use a faster speed of film. You can also have people sit still on a log or rock and take a longer exposure to get more light.

Mother and kids enjoying sunset in mountains

Generations in Nature

If you're out for a nature walk, get some photos of multiple generations together. You can have everyone pose for a photo or just snap some shots as you're walking. The key is showing connection by having the people hold hands or stand close together.

Boy with father and grandfather walking in the forest

Coordinated Clothes

After dinner, dress kids in coordinated clothes if they have them, and hold a Thanksgiving family photo shoot outside. Late fall afternoon light can be beautiful. Try to find a spot with a little shade so there aren't harsh shadows on anyone, and then have a friend or family member take lots of photos of you together.

Twins dressed the same hold by their mothers

Sweater Weather

Thanksgiving is the perfect time for cozy sweaters, and it's easy to make a family photo look good when everyone is dressed in their favorite knits. You don't need to stress over colors or what to wear in your family photos; just have everyone wear something cozy. Take lots of pictures, making sure you capture different generations together.

Grandmother and adult granddaughter embracing in garden

Everyone Included

Because families tend to gather together for the holiday, Thanksgiving is the perfect time to get a portrait of your entire family. You can pose everyone outside or choose a location indoors where everyone can sit together. Make sure there's lots of light where you're shooting, since it's easy to lose people to shadows in these big family photos. Take lots of pics, since someone is sure to blink.

Multi generation family at home

Thanksgiving Family Pictures to Treasure

Thanksgiving is all about family and gratitude, which makes capturing the occasion in photos important. Get inspired with fall family photo ideas or just start snapping shots. Either way, these Thanksgiving family pictures will be something you treasure for years to come.

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18 Sweet Thanksgiving Family Photo Ideas