7 Dos and Don'ts to Make You a Better, Stealthier Candid Photographer

When you think of photography, the first thought that usually comes to mind requires posing, a countdown, and a shutter click. When you look back on the photos you’ve taken throughout the years, you'll probably see that the majority of them are usually posed. How many times have you called out, “Hey everyone! Turn around and smile!”? While these photos are great and, of course, look beautiful in your Mixbook, there is also the untapped area of candid photography. The beauty of candid photography is the ability to capture something in its natural essence. The emotions and actions in the photo are honest because your subject is unaware that he or she is being photographed. It is not planned or staged—just real emotion captured on film. Candid photography can definitely be one of the more powerful styles of photography, and just like with all styles, it takes practice to perfect your shots. Today’s post will explore some general dos and don’ts to help you improve  your candid capturing skills.

1. DO catch people in action. Try your best to capture a moment that supports the story you’re trying to tell. Capture interactions between people to show off their unique relationships.

Capture RelationshipsThis layout is taken from our Black Portfolio theme.

2. DO NOT use your flash. If lighting permits, turn your flash off, as this is a surefire way to get “caught.” The flash alerts everyone in the room that candid photographs are being taken, causing them to want to pose “naturally” or worse, run and hide! Also, make sure there is lots and lots of natural light because the flash will wash out your subjects.

3. DO take your camera everywhere and take multiple shots of your subject. Having your camera with you at all times increases your chances of getting that great unexpected shot. Remember, candid photos aren’t planned, so having your camera close ensures that you're prepared! Taking multiple shots of the same subject will also give you a variety of photos to choose from. If your camera has a continuous shooting feature, use it to your advantage. Continuous shooting allows you to take multiple photos with a single click. This way, you are not limited to the single shot, in which you are hoping you were able to capture that precious moment.

Multiple ShotsThis layout is taken from our Black Portfolio theme.

4. DO NOT be afraid to use your zoom lens! When you are trying to capture candid moments, sometimes your zoom is your best friend. It allows you to really focus your shot on the moment unfolding in front of you and to get close to your subject without blowing your cover.

5. DO experiment with your shots! Try shooting from different angles and levels. A photograph taken from hip or floor level can be drastically different than one shot from eye level. Try using other objects or people to frame your photo. If it appears the photographer was hiding behind a person or object, it makes the photo seem "stolen," which adds to the candid style. Experimenting with your photo’s composition will provide you with a unique photograph.

Experiement & Practice

This layout is taken from the Black Portfolio theme.

6. DO NOT take pictures just to take pictures. Take the extra few seconds to think about what you want to capture and how you can capture it. While candid photos of people eating in mid-sneeze may be hilarious, they distract from the story you really want to tell. Not to mention, your friends (ex-friends?) may not be thrilled with the fact that you've published such unattractive photos!

7. Lastly, DO your best to remain as discrete as possible for as long as possible. The moment your subjects know you’re photographing them, they may become self-conscious and start to unconsciously force what they think is natural.

The beauty of candid photography is in the ability to show a normal, everyday action in a new and exciting way. It allows you to freeze a real moment in time forever. Practice and experimentation are all you need to start capturing great photos. For a little inspiration and a great place to start, take a look at our Stolen Moments pinboard on Pinterest. It’s got some great candid photos that we love (and would love to try for ourselves!). Remember, at the end of the day, as long as your candid photo evokes emotion, you know you’ve captured something great. Now let's see some great candids!

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