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Candid

Candid styles of photography are increasingly becoming popular both in general day to day photography but also in formal photographic situations.
Below are a number of tips to help photographers improve their ‘candid’ photography. Please note that these tips are not about taking sneaky, voyeuristic or true paparazzi shots (ie photographing people without their permission) but rather about how to add a more candid feel to the shots you take of people that you know.

Take Your Camera Everywhere
Probably the best way to take spontaneous photographs is to always be ready to do so. As I have my iPhone with me all the time then this is what I prefer to use for speed and the sheer fact that I can whip out at a moments notice to capture the many opportunities for a good photo that life presents us with. Taking your camera or phone with you everywhere also helps people to be more at ease with you taking their photo. I find that my friends and family just expect me to have my iPhone out so when I do fire it up it’s not a signal to them to pose but it’s a normal part of our interaction this means that they are relaxed and the photos are natural.

Zooming In
Obviously the further you are away from your subject the less likely they will be to know that you’re photographing them and the more natural and relaxed they’ll act. Using a telephoto lens or long zoom on your camera helps and also zooming in on your iPhone enables you to shoot from outside their personal space but keep the feeling of intimacy in the shot you’re taking.

Kill The Flash
Perhaps the most obvious way that you can signal to another person that you’re photographing them is to use a flash. There’s nothing like a blinding flash of light in the eyes to kill a moment. If possible (and it’s not always) attempt to photograph without the flash if you’re aiming for candid shots.

Shoot Lots
Shoot multiple images quickly of a person you can sometimes get some surprising and spontaneous shots that you’d have never gotten if you shot just one. Switch your camera to continuous shooting mode and shoot in bursts of images and in doing so you’ll increase your chances of that perfect shot, you can get some great applications on the app store for burst shooting or just can simple take lots of photos and if you use your iCloud account then you will have all your work stored safely for sorting the good and the bad out later, just snap away.

Position Yourself
While Candid Photography is about capturing the spontaneity of a moment and getting that perfect shot at the right split second of time I find that if you think ahead and anticipate what is about to unfold in front of you that you can greatly increase the chances of getting some great shots.
Which way will people be facing? What will they be doing? What will the light be like? Thinking through these issues will save you having to run around repositioning yourself when you should be shooting images it will also mean you take a whole heap less shots of the back of people’s heads!
But sometimes the back of the head is good as your see in this photo.

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People Doing Something
Images of people doing things tend to be much more interesting than people sitting passively doing nothing. For one your subject will be focussed upon something which adds energy to a photo (and takes their focus off you) but it also puts them in context and adds an element of story to your image. Timing is everything in Candid shots so wait until they are distracted from you and fully focussed upon what they are doing or who they are with and you’ll inject a feeling into your shots of them being unaware and that the viewer of your image is looking on unseen.

From The Hip
If your subject is aware that you are there and that you have your camera out they might tense up or act a little unnaturally as they see you raising your camera to the eye. The beauty of digital cameras is that it does not cost you anything to take lots of shots and it can be well worth shooting without raising your camera.

Perspective
The other beauty of shooting from the hip is that it gives you a slightly different perspective to take the shot from (ie shooting from 3 feet height instead of 6). This adds to the candid nature of the shots. In fact sometimes it’s the slightly crooked, slightly out of focus or poorly composed shots taken from this type of angle that ends up looking the best because they come across as quite random. Of course you can add all these new perspectives to your shots without shooting from the hip. Crouch down, get up high, frame your shots on an angle, zoom in close and then quickly zoom out to a wide angle, break the rules of composition etc and you will add a new perspective to your shots that can mean they look fresh and surprising.

With this shot I have my subject in the distance and my foreground at eye level making this shot feel very unnatural for most to look at by a real talking point.
With all the above to help you out, your candid shots can be more than just a photograph but more of a story.