Candid photography: Catching people doing what they're best at
Many people cannot differentiate informal portraiture from candid photography but the main distinction is that in the latter, the subjects aren’t aware that they are being photographed. In candid photography, you are capturing a moment, a glimpse of what people are like in real life. When done well, it can give us an idea about people we have never met.
Unlike informal portraiture, candid photography doesn’t require props. There are no posing, no backdrops. It might sound easy since you don’t need to know the many things necessary for formal portraiture, but the fact is, very few are successful at candid photography. One of the challenges you will encounter with candid photography is finding ways you can photograph people without making them aware of the shot you want to take. Also, you will have to make them look good, or at the very least, natural.
Taking candid photos is difficult, not because of a confusing process. Instead, it is the change in the persona you need to do the job well. Unlike portraiture, you cannot take your time in composing the shot. If you want to take great shots from a party, for example, you need take more time in watching people than in participating.
The good thing about candid photography is that you get the opportunity to know more about your friends and family from a different vantage point. When you produce shots of natural moments, then you get an idea of a person’s true nature. Candid photography is most interesting when you catch people get caught up with the things that they do.
So the question is: how do you become a stealth photographer? Here are a couple of tips:
1. Be sensitive to your subject. The aim of candid shots is to show people behaving naturally. Sometimes, it is best to delete shots which are unflattering and humiliating.
2. Blend in. People might notice you at first if you are taking a lot of shots but they will soon forget about you. It is best not to use flash, especially if there’s ample lighting in the room/area you are in. Go work in another part of the room and when people are already too wrapped up in having a good time, then it is time to get more shots.
3. Choose the right lens. Most people do not know the difference between a wide angle lens and a telephoto. They do not know if they are included in the shot, unless the lens is pointed directly at them. Focus on a person or object from a distance away and take the photo quickly. Use your zoom lens so you can compose the shot better.
4. Go with the widest focal length you can. You can put your camera on chest level and fire away! With a wide angle lens, you can be sure that a person far away from you will still be in the frame.
Keep in mind that the goal of candid photography is to make your subjects look as natural as possible. This means more than just tripping the shutter – you will also need to understand your subjects. You will need to develop a sense of anticipation in order to get great shots.
For example, if you see a mother and daughter walking down a street. In this case, you can anticipate that they will cross the street hand in hand and get your camera ready to take the shot. Babies and children are the most common subjects of photography because they not as self conscious as adults, but you can also take a shot of your mom as she gets out of the bath or your sister singing and dancing while she cleans her room.
Continue on to page 3 where you can learn more about glamour photography.