Candid photography is the art of capturing a person un-posed and in their natural surroundings, without regard for the camera.
The key to candid photography is to keep your subject’s interest away from the camera. There are a couple of ways of doing that.
First, you may want to try being less than obvious about the fact that you’re using your camera. This is easiest if you can find an out-of-the way, unobtrusive place with a view of the scene that you are looking to capture. From this position, you can remain generally unnoticed and out of the way of any action taking place. By the way, I’m not talking about being sneaky here. I’m just suggesting that you shoot from a distant corner of the room, try to blend into the background and definitely avoid standing in the middle of your scene and shouting, “Say cheese”.
Another way to capture some great candid shots is to keep your camera out after you’ve snapped some posed photos. You’ll often find that people are very interested in your camera when they first see it and that’s when you can shoot some posed images. But afterwards, if you immerse yourself in the activities at hand and allow the others to do the same, you will often see that your subjects lose interest and forget that you still have your camera out. That’s when it’s time for the un-posed, candid shots.
Whichever approach you go for, here are some other hints to improve your chances of capturing some great candid shots:
Keep your camera with you wherever you go. You never know when the perfect candid moment may appear.
Keep your camera on ‘Auto’ and your ISO set high. The automatic mode on your camera is perfect for candid shots because it lets you forget about the camera settings so that you can concentrate on shooting. And, setting a relatively high ISO, say 400, keeps your shutter speeds fast so that you can capture action.
Avoid shooting someone’s back. People’s backs are rarely interesting.
Use your zoom rather than your feet to get closer to your subject. The best candid shots are usually taken a distance from your subject’s ‘personal space’.
Turn off your flash. A flash going off will ruin any chance you have of being unobtrusive.
Use your camera’s LCD screen to compose your photo. Raising your camera to your eye to compose through the viewfinder can make it too apparent that you are photographing. Using the LCD instead can help to make your camera less obvious.
Try to capture people doing things or with other people. Images of people doing things make great candid shots because it’s more interesting, can tell a story and puts the subject of your image in a natural setting. Photographs of multiple people help to show relationships, adding depth and interest to the image.
Go black and white. After capturing your candids, consider converting some of them to black and white for an extra dose of interest and emotion.
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f you are just getting started in photography, exposure is one of the first things you need learn.
But even beyond that, getting a good handle on exposure and how the different components of exposure work together is essential if you want to take control of your photography and the images that you are creating.