Candid photography captures candid moments of everyday life, such as people kissing, laughing, playing, or being lost in thought. Candid photographers aim to capture the natural, spontaneous interactions that happen between people by focusing entirely on a subject without the aid of a zoom lens or flash.

Many people confuse candid photography with candid videography, two distinct techniques. Candid photography is more about capturing candid moments and expressions than candid videography. And it’s often done so unobtrusively that the subject isn’t even aware of the camera. Candid photography can be fun but can make for some challenging photos. If you need help, here’s a guide to taking candid photos.

Be Where the Action is and Blend in

The best candid photographers are always in the right place at the right time. When you spot an exciting face or scene, be ready to take action and snap a photo. Otherwise, that photo will be missed.

Tell People to Pretend You Are Not There

People usually face the camera when taking candid photos, so direct your camera to your subject. When posing your subject, direct them to look where you want them. Avoid asking people to look directly at you. The serious faces you tend to get in candid shots are not attractive to the viewer. To break away from the direct faces, try to get them to look at something more interesting, such as a more interesting background or into the distance.

Tell People to Get Comfortable and Pose Their Own Way

When taking candid photographs at a wedding or any other event, capturing candid moments can be tricky. Though there’s no wrong way to take a candid photograph, there are better ways than shooting straight-on. Tell people to put themselves at ease and pose their own way, so they don’t feel awkward and need to smile at the camera. Pose with the subject by leaning in slightly, with your arms crossed, or with your hands resting on your hips.

Be More Discreet with a Prime Lens

Prime lenses on your digital camera make getting candid shots easier. They allow you to shoot with a wider aperture, opening your lens to more light. This allows you a break from using flash indoors and lets you capture more natural light. Prime lenses have a shorter focal length, so you can get closer to your subject.

Get Close and Watch Your Subjects Without Being Noticed

Candid photography means capturing photographs that show people as they are in their natural settings. Candid photographs often feature people being themselves, and viewers can be completely immersed in the subject’s world. To produce candid photographs, photographers must capture a subject’s natural behavior and interactions without interrupting it or creating a situation that makes it more difficult.

Taking candid photographs requires patience and practice. Finding the right angle, the best lighting, and timing all play a role. Often, candid photographs are taken when the subject least expects it or isn’t paying attention.

Ask Questions to Break the Ice

When photographing people, you must break the ice and interact with your subjects. Asking questions allows you to learn more about your subject and create a more natural photograph. These tips will help you connect with people while photographing candid photographs.

Lose the Flash to Stay Discreet

Even if you’re a professional photographer who also happens to have an eye for candid photography, you might struggle to take candid shots without a flash. It’s because the flash draws attention to yourself, and flashes are best used during situations when the subject (you) isn’t the focal point. Avoid the tell-tale flashes of the pop-up flash by switching to the off-camera flash feature. This lets you use the flash without the device being in direct view, but it still provides ample light, so you can avoid casting a shadow on people’s faces.

Move Around Your Subjects for Better Composition

Candid photography is arguably one of the most challenging types of photography to master. You strive to avoid detracting from the natural immediacy of candid moments, whereas posed photographs tend to be set in a more formal setting. What is the secret to getting candid photographs? Move around your subject. Move around your subject in a controlled, purposeful manner. Specifically, plan your move carefully and thoughtfully. Be confident and unwavering in your movements.

Candid photographs often provide the most candid moments. Unfortunately, candid photographs can be tricky to capture. To get the best shots, move people around, walk around, and snap away at everything. Become familiar with the people you’re photographing. If they are shy, approach them and start a conversation. Let them lead the conversation and pose for the photograph if they are more outgoing. Candid photography isn’t about following strict guidelines. You’ll be on your way to capturing candid photographs with a little practice.


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