5 Simple Ways To Improve Your Candid Photography

People love candid photography, because it truly captures slice of life moments that will never be repeated and it invokes a sense of the “now.” Only, most people go around taking staged photos and asking people to say “cheese”

1. Lose the Flash
One of the first things you need to do is turn off your flash. Whether you’re using a P&S or a dSLR, the use of a flash shouts that you’re taking pictures. Whereas, if your flash is off — you can subtly snap away and catch those great moments. Also, flashes blind people, so those expressions of joy, grief, surprise, excitement – can get wiped away by the flash.

2. Take A Lot of Photos
Don’t be afraid to take tons and tons of photos (fill up that memory card!), and if you’re not using the flash, the camera doesn’t need to cycle the flash to take advantage of the camera’s shooting speed. Most digital cameras today – P&S and dSLR have a burst mode, use that to your advantage (practice with it in non-important settings to get the hang on of it, because it’s useful and fun in the right hands in the right circumstances).

3. Use Your Zoom and Strategic Positioning
You’ll want to use the longer end of your zoom lens and find the most advantageous places to get shots that don’t intrude on what’s happening around you. This strategic positioning is a skill that you’ll develop the more you seriously think about positioning and placement for effective photographs — before the events happen.

4. Catch People in the Moment
And one of the best ways to improve your candid photos is to photograph people actually doing things… nothing drains the life out of a photo than having it staged; asking people to move closer and smile and change positions so so-and-so can be seen takes the energy out of any moment. The stilted nature of those types of photos is what you’re fight against. Part of the fight requires you just taking pictures when your subject(s) isn’t aware; when they’re caught up in something else (listening to someone tell a story, waiting for the surprise guest to show up, etc.) is an ideal time to snap away.

5. Become Invisible
When your composing your candid shots, try to do a few things to prevent your subjects from knowing that you’re taking a picture. Try keeping the camera down by your belt/waist and fire away (no need to keep your eye at the viewfinder, as you had to with some film cameras) and/or position people and objects directly between you and the subject(s) to act as a framing device. In addition, by finding unorthodox perspectives and camera positions you’ll also increase the power of your candid — especially, if they’re slightly out of focus, tilted and otherwise “messy” — as that mess can be the brilliance.

These are just a few tips, the most important element to taking candid photos is spontaneity — that’s what makes these types of photographs stand-out. It elevates them, and people will remark on them. And who doesn’t want to be hailed as an artist?

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