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How You Can Dominate Instagram This Thanksgiving

Everyone tries to get the perfect shot of a Thanksgiving meal, but once everything reaches the table, you’re really just at the final chapter of a story that began much earlier. It’s in the time spent with family preparing a great Thanksgiving meal where the most treasured memories and the most interesting images are made. Also, when it comes down to the photos, while the turkey tends to get all the glory, you can make a more compelling visual story by focusing on the deserts and seasonal side dishes because they are frequently more visually interesting in both preparation and when they're ready to serve. With that in mind, instead of a quick single shot like everyone else’s on Instagram this year, make it a story with these tips! 

This is how you can dominate Instagram on Thanksgiving.

My Lenses For Holiday Meal Stories

To start with the gear and in particular, the lenses I use, I have a few that I rely on for this kind of photography:

My favorite is the Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master. It gives me so many composition options and sharp results every time.

I also use the Sony 55mm f/1.8 which is especially useful for creating shallow depth of field.

The third lens I use extensively for food photography is the Sony 90mm f/2.8 Macro G. It lets me capture all the tiny details that make a Holiday meal beautiful! Varying your shots is really important in food photography.

On occasion I use the Sony 35mm f/1.4 when I want a wider field of view and a very fast aperture. It's a very sharp lens and it's great in the moody window light we get here in Minnesota.  

With the 55mm and the 90mm in particular, remember to move in and out ("zoom" with your feet or your hands) while changing your composition.

Get A Look From Above

Everyone loves to see behind the scenes images of the making of homemade food. One of the best ways to showcase the details is by shooting from above. Set a tripod over your workstation to capture the shot. Position your camera so the sensor is parallel to your work surface.  

Sony α7R II. Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master lens. 1/160-sec., f/2.8, ISO 640

Sony α7R II. Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master lens. 1/160-sec., f/4, ISO 100.

Show The Human Touch

Include the human element. The Holidays are about being together with loved ones, show them in the photos. Including people in your photos also helps the viewer make a connection to the image. 

Sony α7S II. Sony 55mm f/1.8 lens. 1/250-sec., f/3.2, ISO 1600.

Sony α7S II. Sony 55mm f/1.8 lens. 1/250-sec., f/1.8, ISO 1250.

Show Motion And Slow Motion

Don’t forget to show the action! Stirring, sprinkling and rolling are all great ways to add interest in your images. Do keep an eye on your shutter speed when capturing motion! Slower shutter speed will blur action, and fast shutter speed will lock it down.

Sony α7R II. Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master lens. 1/160-sec., f/5.6, ISO 100.

Change Perspective

I love to get two main shots: overhead and directly in front of the action. You can alternate between horizontal and vertical too.

Sony α7R II. Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master lens. 1/160-sec., f/2.8, ISO 640

Sony α7R II. Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master lens. 1/160-sec., f/2.8, ISO 640

Add Some Style

To really set your shots off, you need some styling. Don’t overdo it. Let the props enhance the shot, not dominate it. My top styling tip is simple: Antiques!

Sony α7R II. Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master lens. 1/160-sec., f/2.8, ISO 100

Matte surfaces are ideal for food photography because they prevent specular highlights taking over your image. Look for patinated metals, aged wood, ceramics with a matte glaze, and tarnished silver. These will make your food stand out while supporting your images with neutral textures and colors.  

Sony α7R II. Sony 35mm f/1.4 lens. 1/400-sec., f/2.5, ISO 160. 

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