Thursday, June 4, 2009

how to take better candid photographs

the girls

It's been a while since my last "how-to" post. I've got wedding photography on the brain, and I know for my taste, I love candid photos. The best photos taken at my own wedding were the ones I didn't know were being shot. Photos of me laughing, interacting with my guests, just enjoying my wedding day. I also love the photos of my kids that are not posed, but more natural and "in the moment" (which is a good thing with a 14 month old that has no interest in standing still...)

Without further ado, here are some tips for better candid photos:

  • use a long zoom lens - the further away you are from your subject, the better your chances of capturing them in a candid moment. And your subject won't be so aware that there is a camera in their face...
  • have your subject keep busy - people doing something are inherently more interesting (from a photography standpoint) than people sitting still or just standing there. And it's another way to distract your subject from the fact that they are being photographed.
  • photograph people with people - by photographing 2 or more people you can capture the interaction (laughter, emotion, affection, etc.)
  • shoot multiple frames - if your camera has the capability to fire several frames per second, do it. Chances are one of those frames will produce a great candid shot.
  • nix the flash - this should be the unofficial mantra here at LF headquarters. For any camera shy subjects, the flash only emphasizes the fact that yes, they are being photographed - and they may retreat into hiding. By upping the ISO and opening your aperture, you can even get that perfectly grainy photo that (in my opinion) makes for a great candid photo. (Click here if you missed this discussion).
  • shoot from the hip (literally) - changing your perspective definitely adds to the "candidness" of the shot. Many times I will shoot from a feline perspective (i.e. low to the ground) just to see what I come up with. I promise you, however, if you see me shooting low to the ground that I am NOT trying to peek up your skirt. I'm just sayin...
Any questions? Leave me a comment or drop an email.