Smartphone photography tips for stunning Thanksgiving table photos

smartphone photography Thanksgiving

Wait...whaaat? Somehow the year has flown by and now the holidays are almost upon us. Although it’s fun to share photos of our Thanksgiving table, getting a good photo with all the plates, glasses, food and decorations, can be daunting. Here are seven smartphone photography tips for stunning Thanksgiving table photos.

1. Time your shoot

When photographing your table, it’s best to choose a time of day when the table looks evenly lit. You don’t want to have harsh sunlight streaming through the window casting bright hot spots and dark shadows across your table and decor.

 2. Vary your perspective

Getting the whole table in one photo can be busy and distracting. Instead, focus on one section of the table and vary your angle. Try shooting straight-on down the table but also try a three quarter view. Experiment too with shooting both from a low and high angle.

 3. Use your grid

Your in-camera grid is a great aid for helping you keep those lines straight. When shooting straight down like in the photo above, the grid lines will help you know when your shot is straight.

 To turn on the grid, go into Settings…Camera…Grid. Once the grid is turned on, line up one of the grid lines to something in your scene that you know is horizontal or vertical.

 In the photo above the runner is something straight that could be used as a guide.

 4. Shoot in Portrait mode

If you have a smartphone that is less than a couple years old then you most likely have portrait mode as an option. Shooting in portrait mode will blur the background and make the photo appear as if it was taken with a digital camera with a long lens.

 Portrait mode will give your photo a soft blurred background, as if you had used a long lens on a DSLR camera.

5. Fill the frame

Social media viewers LOVE clear and easily identified images. When you consider that most people are looking at your photos on their phone, a busy photo with a lot going on (like a Thanksgiving table) will be much more difficult to see than a few impactful close ups.

 6. Set the focus manually

Locking in the focus, especially with a close up, allows you to show off the chosen subject and not some random item that the camera chose as the subject.

To set the focus manually, tap your finger on the camera screen on the exact spot that you want in focus. With an iPhone, a yellow box will appear where you tap. Android users will see a circle where the screen is tapped. Hold your finger on the iphone yellow square or the Android circle for a second or two. The focus is now locked at that exact spot.

7. Highlight the Turkey

For a true Thanksgiving story, don’t forget the turkey. After all, it takes so much work preparing it, why not celebrate it. Place some herbs, greens, veggies or fruits around the turkey platter and channel your inner Martha Stewart styling skills.

 Tip: A large turkey will look best photographed from the side rather than straight on.

 Would you like more smartphone photography tips and training? Check out my class, "Better iPhone Photos".