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Top Ten Thanksgiving Photo Ideas for 2020

Top Ten Thanksgiving Photo Ideas for 2020

Thanksgiving 2020 is upon us. This year will be unique. Smaller gatherings, more intimate settings, limited menu items or perhaps even no travel at all.

In this crazy year, there is still something you can be thankful for, no matter how small. With that in mind, here are my top ten Thanksgiving photo ideas for 2020.

1. Meal Preparation

As you are preparing your favorite side dish or dessert, take a moment to take some behind-the-scenes shots.

  • The ingredients might be measured out in mixing bowls.
  • Fruits, nuts and herbs may be a featured ingredient in your dish. Take a photo of them.
  • Do you have some helpers for your meal prep? Take a few fun photos of the mess.

These photos will help to remember all the planning and work you put in to make your favorite recipe.

kids baking

Kids Baking by Lisa Kreutzer from Pixabay

2. Photograph the Details

Thanksgiving is a holiday to break out the special plates, stemware and silverware. Make your pictures more memorable by focusing on the details. Take a photo of the place setting from a unique angle. Shoot closeups in addition to the wide angle table.

dinner party

Pumpkin Place Setting by Terri Cnudde from Pixabay

3. Props should be clean

When shooting plates, glasses, and utensils, make sure they are clean. The slightest bit of mess will become visible in your image.

This is a beautifully-lit and accented image of Thanksgiving Wine, but the glass is dirty!  

thanksgiving wine

Dirty Glass by Ulrike Leone from Pixabay

4. Use natural light

Whenever possible, use natural light for your photos instead of bright flash. Take a photo near a window.


5. Make sure the white balance and shutter speed are correct

Taking photos indoors can mess with the white balance. Florescent lights can create stark, bluish tones and tungsten light can create overly warm, orange-ish photos.

If there is not a lot of light available, you will need to bump up the ISO in order to avoid blurry photos.

6. Use battery-operated twinkle lights to elevate the scene

Place lights in a corner or on a desert or beverage table to add some pretty accents and bokeh to the scene.

These Fox cookies look amazing, but the lights really make them look special!

fox cookies

Fox Cookies by Jill Wellington


Here is a 12-pack of twinkle fairy lights on Amazon currently listed for $13.99


You can easily bring a set or two with you for this price!


7. Take candid action photos

Setting the table, cutting the turkey, pouring the wine, passing the side dish, reaction photos.  Don’t forget to capture these fun moments.

glasses salud

Glasses Salud by Element5Digital from Pixabay

8. Get Outside

Did your host decorate their front door with a special wreath to celebrate the day? Send them a photo.

Take some photos along your journey. Include favorite landmarks or road signs. Did you rent a vehicle for the trip? Photograph it at your destination.

autumn scene

Autumn Scene by Albrecht Fietz of Pixabay

9. Incorporate Props

To give your Thanksgiving photos a more rustic look and feel, include some seaonal props. These may include mini-pumpkins, pinecones, leaves, a flower arrangment, a special centerpiece.

Or, maybe you have a one-of-a-kind item appropriate for Thanksgiving, like this cute turkey mug!

thanksgiving mug

Thanksgiving Mug by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

10. Pets

Don’t forget to include your favorite furry friends into your Thanksgiving photos!

This is my house rabbit, Reggie, who loves getting out in the garden.  I added some mums and a pumpkin for a festive scene.


reggie rabbit thanksgiving


Hopefully you got a few new ideas to help capture Thanksgiving this year. Don’t forget to incorporate some seasonal items like mini-pumpkins, take some behind-the-scenes shots of preparing your favorite dish and include your favorite furry friends.


Find something to be thankful for

and photograph it for Thanksgiving.

Enjoy, be safe and have fun!


Check out my post for more food photography tips.

Story Behind-the-Photo


This adorable little chipmunk was one of my first photos that got accepted into Stock photography.

That began a whole new journey for me and I will always be thankful to have opportunities to capture sweet images like this one!

thanksgiving chipmunk

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