Tips to Improve your Candid Photography
Candid photography has become increasingly popular so we’ve put together a list of 10 tips to improve your candid photography. Often considered Paparazzi shots, candid photography is about random photos that capture a unique moment. Improve yours now.
Sneaky, voyeuristic or random paparazzi shots can be fun. Taken the spontaneously, often oblivious to the subject and natural. It’s often how I capture my best candid photographs.
One of my favourite types of photography, I have a collection of ‘once in a lifetime’ photos that are impossible to replicate. So follow these 10 tips and improve your own candid photography.
Our 10 best tips to improve your Candid Photography
Take your Camera Everywhere
The best way to take spontaneous photographs is to always be prepared. As always, the best camera is the one you have with you.
I have a Sony a7000 which I carry when I’m on a shoot but if I’m out and about exploring, I take my smaller Sony a6000 for a quality point and shoot moment.
Don’t forget about your phone camera. Phones today are fairly sophisticated and useful to quickly snap memorable moments and particularly handy for doing a quick social media post.
Get up Close and Personal
Using a long lens or zoom enables you to remain less visible to your subject. It will keep the feeling of intimacy in the shot and allow your subject to feel natural and relaxed.
The further you are away from your subject the less likely they will know that you’re photographing them. Or, simply ask if you may take their photo. Often people are happy to be in your shot as was this young man above who shared his amazing smile with me.
Turn off the Flash
For candid shots, try to photograph without using the flash in low light situations. The most obvious way that you can alert another person that you’re photographing them is to use a flash.
Instead, when in lower light situations increase your ISO setting, use a faster lens or open up your aperture. This should help you blend into the background a little more and put subtle lighting into the shot.
Use Multiple Images
Be ready. Often you can get some surprising and spontaneous shots by using continuous shooting mode.
This photo above was captured simply because I had my phone in my hand and set to continuous shooting. Shoot in bursts. This will increase your chances of that perfect shot.
Candid Photography is about getting that perfect shot. Plan ahead to increase your chances of getting some great shots and improving your candid photography.
Get to your destination early to beat the crowds. Decide where will be best for you to stand to capture each moment. Which way will people be facing? What will the light be like?
Pre-thinking through these scenarios will allow for strategic planning for your photographs – it’ll also mean less shots of the back of people’s heads!
Photograph People in action
Photos of people going about their normal day tends to be much more interesting than people sitting around doing nothing.
Your subject will be less self-conscious. It puts energy into the photo, adds context and begins to tell their story. Timing is everything in candid photography. Be patient, wait until they focused on what they are doing or who they are with. This adds the ‘natural’ factor to your image.
Photograph People with People
When you photograph more than one person in an image at a time, it begins to tell the story. It can add depth.
Ideally, in candid shots it’s great to uncover some interaction between your subjects which will add connection as we see how people are interacting.
Shoot from the Hip
If your subject is aware that you’re taking their photo they may tense up or act a little unnaturally as they see you raising your camera to the eye.
Take lots of shots and try shooting without raising your camera. To do this most effectively you might want to set your lens to a wider angle setting. You’ll be surprised with the results.
Change your Perspective
The other beauty of shooting from the hip is that it provides a different perspective to take the shot from.
Sometimes the photo is slightly crooked, off-centre, slightly out of focus or poorly composed. However, shots taken from an angle often look better because they are less structured.
There are other ways to add different perspectives to your photos. Crouch down, climb stairs, frame your shots on an angle, zoom in close and then quickly zoom out to a wide angle. Break the rules of composition and you will add a new perspective to your shots.
Add Foreground Elements
A trick that I often use in candid shots is to purposely include something in the foreground of the shot to make it look as though I’m hiding behind it.
Try shooting over someone’s shoulder, or including a little of a tree branch or position yourself flat against the wall as you shoot down the street.
I love to take photos of other photographers shooting their shots. It adds interest to the photo.
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Is there something you’ve always wanted to photograph?