Candid photography is by definition taking pictures of people when they are unaware.
Part of the fun in photography is catching your human subject’s off guard so that your pictures have more emotion.
Photographers who work for magazines such as Time and National Geographic have been able to get unbelieveable candid shots of their subjects. I think most of us can remember the black and white photographs of our grandparents or old african american street photography images stirring up emotions inside us because of the moment the image was captured and of personality that was expressed. Taking candid shots may appear easy although there are few techniques in the photography world that will make the candid shot worth more than just a snap shot of friends.
The most important thing to remember is to keep the subject in view while they are not paying attention. The next step is training your eye to catch little moments, like thoughts and emotions even interactions that create feelings to the viewer. You have to be able to move fast, but with a goal or plan in mind. You need to have your camera set for the picture before you are even aware you will take the photograph. The best way to do this if you have a digital camera is to keep it on the proper settings. Manual or film cameras take moments to focus and can loose the candid shot if your subject becomes aware of you. For high-end cameras Aperture priority is an easier mode to do this than full manual mode if more than a few elements could change while you are trying to capture that moment - for example if you are following your subject and the light (environment) is changing
Candid photography relies on the light; however, you may not always get to choose the angle. The angle could be where you are standing at the time. As someone who loves candid photography, you come to know the importance of choosing the best angle at the right possible moment.
The entire point of a candid shot is to gain the unguarded moments of a person’s emotions, whether it is tears, happiness, love, or other emotions. While it is true, you need to have light, angle, and a good camera to catch the shot it is more important to observe. Most photographers are trained observers. Their eyes will wander over the crowds, landscape, or other setting searching for the perfect shot. It can be extremely hard when you are taking photographs of your friends because they tend to be more involved in the conversations or activity.
The key to taking candid photographs of your friends is to draw them away from the fact that you carry a camera. If they forget you carry the tool, they are more likely going to act natural. Some friends tend to pose in front of the camera while others will shy away turning their backs when you get ready to take a photograph. Knowing your friends will help you find the best way to take candid shots without their knowledge.
Observing, having the camera ready, and understanding the basics of photography will give you better results when you try for a candid shot. Pausing or turning away from the camera will take away from the shot you hoped to attain so hanging to the side or a little ahead can get you the shot you may need. Profiles make great candid shots because the person will not realize you are taking a photograph until you have already clicked the button. Candid photography can be one of the most rewarding arts of photography, but sometimes not so easy when the subject is aware of the camera.
Always remember the camera when going out and look for opportunities to capture that once in a life-time moment.
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