Tips for Becoming a Candid Photography Pro
Candid photography is a great tool at your disposal. However, there is a big misconception that candid photography is about hiding in the bushes, hiding and waiting. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
You can get close, engage your subjects, and still take advantage of candid photography techniques. This works for all types of photography to make your photos feel like part of the moment.
Read on to find out how to take great candid shots, from how to set up to how to shoot candid wedding photography.
What Does Candid Photography Mean?
The important first question to ask is what is candid photography? Candid photography is any type of photography that is real and in the moment.
There is no posing, no fake smiles—only true, genuine feelings. The subjects may know you are there photographing them. But they are not taken out of the moment by a camera’s presence.
It is so easy to spot a fake smile or fake look, and that is the quickest way to a mediocre photograph. But a candid photo allows genuine emotion to shine through.
You could be doing portraiture, event or wedding photography. Or travel or street photography, or family photography. Learning how to get candid shots will take you to a new level as a professional photographer.
Candid photographers know how to look at each scene. And they use the surroundings or other ideas to their advantages. This all comes with practice. Candid moments are shots of decisive moments.
Candid Photography Tips
Shoot in Burst Mode
People are unpredictable and you only get one chance when taking candid photography: take lots of shots. Your camera, whether Nikon or Canon digital cameras are able to take great photos.
You’ll be surprised at what you find. I often end up with something fun and spontaneous. And shooting in burst mode increases the chance of capturing that perfect shot.
Shoot From the Hip
If you’re worried about being seen taking photos of someone who may not want their photo taken, try shooting with your camera at hip height.
This gives a new and exciting perspective on a situation that you won’t be used to, also adding to the ‘candid photography’ feel of the shot. These images offer a different angle than from eye level.
Move Around Your Subjects
If you’re taking a candid photo of someone, you’re unable to ask to them to move for a better composition. It’s also pointless asking them to look natural – this creates the most awkward shots of all.
Get up and walk around your subjects until you have them positioned how you’d like, then take the photo. Have your candid camera ready.
An entire set of photos taken from the same seat tends to be boring and predictable. Movement helps to mix things up.
Lose the Flash
Using a flash is a dead giveaway – if you want to go unseen, widen your aperture and raise your ISO. You will be able to take well-exposed photos in low light conditions such as indoors.
I recommend an ISO of about 400 and you can widen the aperture as much as you want. This gives your photos a nice, shallow depth of field, meaning the focus will be on the subject rather than its surroundings.
This is one of the most important candid photography tips.
Get Close and Watch Your Subjects Without Looking at Them
During events or weddings, there are many photographers that will lurk from afar with a long zoom lens. This works for sure, but often you will still be noticed when you point that huge zoom lens at a person.
I prefer the opposite approach instead. There is no best lens for candid photography, just which one gives you the best images.
Get into the middle of the action. Be part of the fun. By doing this, people will become more comfortable around you. They will be more willing to let their guard down.
From here you can survey the room and wait to see who looks like they are having a great time. Don’t look at them before you are about to take their photo.