Candid photos have the ability to capture the raw, authentic, and genuine moments of life in a way that posed shots simply cannot. They can convey emotion, personality, and atmosphere in a way that is spontaneous and unscripted. Even in commissioned shoots, my attempt is to make a lot of shots look candid. This lends a mood to the photograph that posed shots can never have. Whether you’re a professional photographer looking to add candid shots to your portfolio, or an amateur with a passion for capturing the unguarded moments of life, here are five tips for taking better candid photos.
Find the right angle: One of the keys to taking great candid photos is finding the right angle. This can be especially challenging when you’re trying to capture candid shots of people, as you often don’t have the luxury of posing them or controlling the lighting. To find the right angle, try shooting from above or below, or use leading lines to draw the eye into the image. Look for interesting perspectives and compositions that will add depth and interest to your shots. It will also help if you are discreet when shooting. If you are spotted the guards will be up immediately.
Use natural light: Whenever possible, try to use natural light to light your candid shots. This will help to create a more natural and authentic look and can help to bring out the best in your subjects. When shooting in natural light, be mindful of the direction and intensity of the light, and consider using reflectors or diffusers to soften or fill in shadows.
Be patient: Candid photos often require a bit of patience. Take your time and wait for the right moment to capture an authentic and natural expression. This may involve waiting for the right facial expression or body language, or simply waiting for the right light or background.
Use a telephoto lens: A telephoto lens allows you to capture candid shots from a distance without being too intrusive. This can be especially useful for street photography or for capturing candid shots of people in public places. A telephoto lens will also allow you to compress the depth of field, which can help to blur out distracting backgrounds and bring your subjects into focus.
Be ready to react quickly: Candid photos often happen spontaneously, so be ready to react quickly and capture the moment as it unfolds. This may require a fast shutter speed to freeze the action, or a slower shutter speed to blur the motion. Experiment with different shutter speeds and see what works best for the scene you’re shooting. If using a shorter focal length of 50mm and below – speed is the key. Most of the time you will be almost in the face of the subject and there will be no margin for adjusting the settings for the shot. Be lightning fast and shoot in burst mode.
By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to taking better candid photos that capture the natural and genuine moments of life. Practice and experimentation are key, so don’t be afraid to try different techniques and approaches until you find what works best for you. Happy shooting!
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