We first need to define candid photography before moving on to candid photography strategies.
A candid snapshot, in its most basic form, captures an unforeseen moment. Posing is not involved. The photographer is not giving any instructions.
Instead, you adopt a “fly on the wall” attitude and let events unfold organically while your shutter button clicks.
This is why candid photography has a very photojournalistic feel to it. Instead of ordering your subjects to behave or appear a certain way, you are capturing what is happening.
This kind of photography has gained popularity for various types of pictures, including family photos, newborn photography, and even wedding photography since it frequently captures life and emotion.
The definition of candid wedding photography is surprisingly easy to understand.
The customary practice among couples is to engage one photographer to handle the formal photos, such as the staged pictures of the bridal party, and a second photographer to capture natural moments as they happen throughout the day.
As was already said, this photographer captures the day’s events as they happen, and the pictures provide viewers with a glimpse behind the scenes.
The issue is: How can you get ready to take the best candid pictures?
1: Start With The Right Gear
Every camera can capture beautiful candid images; all you need to do is have it on you at all times.
Instead, the lens is the most important piece of equipment for candid photography.
Long lenses, like this one’s 70-200mm zoom, allow you to stand back and observe the action as it naturally takes place.
Consider this: your children won’t act as naturally if you are three feet away with a 35mm lens trying to shoot candid portrait photographs of them in your garden as opposed to if you are ten feet away with a 70-200mm lens. And the more space there is between you and your subjects, the more likely it is that your issues will be open and honest about what they’re doing.
Another benefit of utilizing a long lens is that, although being farther away, you maintain the closeness of the situation.
You may still frame close-up photographs with a 70-200mm lens to capture the sentiments and emotions of the moment, which, as we’ll explore later, are essential for taking the most captivating candid photos.
2: Your Observational Skills are of The Utmost Importance
The capacity to recognize photogenic moments is maybe even more crucial than owning a long lens.
This implies that to spot that one unique moment when a person (or group of people) is having a candid moment, you need to have an acute eye that can scan enormous crowds or vast landscapes.
You must develop both the sight and the ability to spot the optimal circumstances to spot these moments among the turmoil. That is, you must assess the situation and consider the following questions:
- What effects is the light having on the object?
- What is the ideal position to take a candid photo?
- What is happening in the scene’s background?
- Exist any captivating foreground components that could enhance the picture?
Only a few things to think about while creating your candid images are the ones raised above.
Good lighting will result in better photos, therefore you must think strategically about how the light affects the subject. On the one hand, a backlit setting can result in stunningly dramatic candid photographs with silhouettes. On the other side, front lighting may dramatically increase the prominence of the person’s facial expressions.
Avoid taking any photos from directly above your eye level when it comes to the angle of view. Both high-angle and low-angle candid shots have merit since they enhance the image’s candid quality.
For instance, taking a photograph of a youngster from their perspective as opposed to yours encourages the spectator to perceive the world through the eyes of the subject.
As with any portrait, it’s critical to consider the background activity in a candid photograph.
Are there any noteworthy components you would like to emphasize? Does the background need to be blurred because it’s ugly? Are there any distracting elements that should be cropped out of the picture, such as tree branches?
It might be challenging to capture everything happening in the scenario while capturing spontaneous photographs like these. With time and effort, though, you’ll learn how to take note of background components and either use them to your advantage or eliminate them for a better photo.
Last but not least, while you study the scene, keep an eye out for foreground components that might enhance the image’s aesthetic appeal.
Taking a candid shot through anything, like a plant or a group of people, gives it additional depth and character. As though you grabbed the moment as you went by without the subjects knowing you were there with your camera, shooting through anything further enhances the spontaneous feel of the picture.
3: Keep Your Camera Close
The whole point of candid photography is to capture the moment, which can be difficult to achieve when your camera is tucked away in your camera bag.
Have your camera out and ready so you can quickly grab it when the opportunity arises.
Just make sure that obtaining the photo won’t be hindered by not having your camera ready to shoot, whether that means carrying it with a wrist strap, shoulder strap, sling strap, or camera harness.
4: Suggested Camera Settings
There are no strict guidelines for the best camera settings because each candid photography scenario is unique.
But, there are a few fundamental guidelines you may adhere to acquire the best pictures:
- Reduce the ISO as much as you can to reduce the amount of digital noise in the photograph.
- You must use a faster shutter speed if you wish to freeze motion. A shutter speed of 1/250 second or less could be required, for instance, to capture children playing.
- Open the aperture to make the backdrop blurry. As previously said, there may be instances where the backdrop is unsightly or distracting, thus it will be preferable to photograph with a high aperture (i.e., f/1.8) to reduce the depth of field.
- Instead of using manual mode, go to aperture priority mode or shutter priority mode.
Changing all three exposure settings in manual mode takes too long. Employ the shutter priority setting for action and the aperture priority option for low-light conditions.
- Unless there is a lot of motion, always use single-shot autofocus on your camera. To enable the camera to continuously follow moving targets in that situation, switch to continuous autofocus.
5: Do Not Use Flash
Nothing will ruin the mood of a candid photograph like a harsh, blinding flash hitting the person in the face.
Also, that sort of lighting is very artificial, which is why I said before to pay attention to how the light is interacting with the subject.
Open the aperture to let in more light, reduce the shutter speed to prolong the time that light is on the sensor, or raise the ISO (or do all three! ), if there isn’t much light. Understand how the exposure triangle functions so you can adjust the aperture, shutter speed, and ISO to create a properly exposed photograph.
6: Put Yourself in A Position To Get A Great Shot
I said before how important it is to acquire a good eye for spotting candid situations.
While this is essential, there is a different method you may use to capture candid images: position yourself carefully.
This means that you should place yourself in a position where honest moments happen to you rather than stumbling about looking for them.
This tactic may be used, among other things, by standing at the top of the stairs at Grand Central Station, standing in front of the wedding venue’s door, or being in the middle of a crowded street market.
Street photographers would attest that it is far simpler to choose a location with a lot of activity and remain there with your camera than to wander the entire city in search of a fantastic candid moment.
In the video by Jared Polin up top, you may learn more about how to imagine a candid image.
7: Take Lots of Photos
This is the perfect circumstance to use a “spray and pray” strategy.
Of course, I’m joking, but just a little.
One of the finest candid photography tricks you can do is to take a lot of photos to catch the most genuine moments.
Set your camera to burst mode, compose your photo, and start shooting!
Even in burst mode, some photographers may advise you to shoot from the hip. If you can do that and do it effectively, go for it! I just don’t have the spatial awareness to set up a good photo with the camera at my hip.
Check out the video from PhotographyTV above for additional information on capturing candid pictures.
Candid Photography Meaning
You now have seven candid photography pointers to remember the next time you are out taking pictures.
Keep in mind that the goal of candid photography is to record real moments. It’s not meant to be anything malicious where you’re a voyeur and invading people’s privacy, or spring out of the bushes to startle them with your camera.
Instead, the goal of candid photography is to capture the passion of the moment and the sentiments that individuals are going through while creating a picture that appeals to the spectator.
In this light, candid photography may be one of the best photographic styles for bringing the spectator to a certain moment in time. It is the main focus of candid photography and candid photos!