People usually think candid photography means taking photos on vacation, with a phone, or in casual situations. But they are far away from the truth. Candid photography means taken professional photos in unplanned moments and without posing. The photographer has nothing to say about how the subjects move or action. Furthermore, although the subjects may know somebody takes their pictures, they aren’t aware of the exact moment of shooting.
Candid photography is very rewarding. You’re allowed to enter the intimate space of your subject and capture unique moments of their lives. This photographic style is frequently used in documentary and street photography, photojournalism, and children photo sessions. But it gains popularity in fashion and commercial photography as well. So what should you know about candid photography?
Know your camera and be fast
Snapshots require accuracy and determination. You don’t have time to set up your camera but you have to deliver perfectly exposed images, with good clarity and sharp details. Use the Auto mode if you don’t feel strong enough to manage the camera in Manual mode. Choose faster shutter speeds, small ISO, and deep depths of field to avoid adding noise or blurring your pictures.
If you take pictures in a well-known location and have moving subjects, use a tripod and take pictures in burst mode. Take some time to find the best settings for your location and lighting. Capturing the perfect shot isn’t easy but taking many pictures and practicing a lot with different settings will improve your skills.
Be invisible and make no noise
The secret of candid photography is an invisible photographer. Wear neutral clothing and eliminate all camera sounds. Try to avoid using flash or big cameras. For these specific situations, using a mirrorless camera may be a good idea. Don’t engage in conversation with your subject. You don’t want to influence their attitude or make them aware of your presence. Choose a good position, set up your camera, and wait. Patience is a virtue.
Have patience and wait for the perfect moment
Candid photography depends on the subject matter you choose. And magic moments don’t happen on command. You may have to wait for a while to capture the scene you want. Or you may wait and wait and have nothing to photograph all day. Follow Steve McCurry’s advice and have patience.
“When I’m shooting for myself, I like to just walk out of the hotel in the morning and wander around enjoying the day, to get into the right frame of mind. Then, after a while, hopefully, I start to see things. Sometimes these magic moments happen and other times I can walk around all day and not see anything. In the end, you just have to average it out.” – Steve McCurry
Engage with your subject matter
You can’t capture the spirit of a place or a person without taking the time to get to know them. Study all the history and stories you can find, explore, and observe. Candid photography requires more observation and dedication than any other photography style. Pay attention to your subject’s personality, attitude, lifestyle, and habits. Notice if they have any tics, what angle flatters them, and where should the light source be to have the perfect scene.
Candid photos need much attention and practice. You may be lucky and have the perfect shot from the first try or unfortunate and work for weeks without success. It requires patience, love, and empathy. It really asks a lot from the photographer but the results worth the trouble.
For more on the photo life check out these articles.