What is a Candid Photo?

man holding camera

Candid photos are those taken spontaneously, without the subject’s knowledge or permission. They often capture natural expressions or unguarded moments and are prized for their documentary value.

In recent years, candid photography has become increasingly popular, as digital cameras make it easier to take and share pictures quickly and easily. While some people may find candid photography intrusive or even invasive, others enjoy the spontaneity and candidness of such shots.

Let’s take a closer look at how to capture candid photos.

Why should you take candid photos?

Great candid photos capture natural and unposed moments between you and your friends or family. They can be really beautiful, and often provide a more intimate view into someone’s life than posed photos. They’re also a good way to capture unique and spontaneous moments that you might not be able to recreate if you tried to pose for a photo.

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woman holding camera

How to take candid photos

Candid photos can also be difficult to take, and you might not always get the results you’re hoping for. Here are a few candid photography tips to help you get the best candid pictures possible:

  1. Be prepared. Candid moments can happen at any time, so it’s important to always have your camera ready. Keep it with you as much as possible, and be sure to have extra batteries or memory cards so you don’t miss a moment.
  2. Be quick. Candid photographs document instances that often only last for a brief second, so you need to be able to act quickly. Have your camera set up the way you want it beforehand so all you have to do is point and shoot when the time comes.
  3. Be discreet. If you’re trying to take a candid photo of someone, they’re likely to be more natural if they don’t know you’re there. When you photograph people try to be as unobtrusive as possible, and avoid making any sudden movements or noises that might give you away.
  4. Be patient. Candid moments don’t always happen when you want them to, so it’s important to be patient and keep your camera ready at all times. If you wait around long enough, eventually something will happen that’s worth capturing.
  5. Be ready for anything. Unlike posed images, candid photography is all about being spontaneous, so be prepared for anything. Be flexible and open to whatever comes your way, and you’ll be sure to get some great shots.

How to get better at candid photography

Candid photography can be a challenging but fun type of photography to master. Here are a few tips to help you improve your skills:

  • Get close to your subject. This will help you capture the moment more effectively and secure intimate shots that feel more candid.
  • Use a fast lens. This will help you capture fleeting moments before they’re gone. Be sure to research shutter speeds to ensure that you have the best camera equipment for the job.
  • Study the work of other photographers. Check out art galleries and social media for inspiration from some of the most successful photographers of all time.
  • Chat to your subject to put them at ease. Experienced street photographers use their conversational skills to break the ice so be sure to ask about popular topics like holidays and hobbies.
  • Take multiple shots from different angles. Walk around your subject until you have the ideal depth of field and composition for your photo – the movement will keep your images fresh. You might also want to experiment with burst mode. Shooting in bursts gives you several images to choose from.

man taking photograph outside

Where to post candid photos online

When it comes to posting your candid pictures online, there are a few different options to choose from. One popular site for sharing photos is Flickr, which allows you to create albums and even sets for your photos. You can also add tags and descriptions to help others find your photos, as well as share them with others who have accounts on the site.

Another option for posting your candid photos online is to use a blog platform such as WordPress or Blogger. This can be a great way to create a more personal photo album or a blog post that you can share with others, and you can even add commentary and descriptions to each photo.

Finally, many social networking sites allow you to share photos, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. These can be great ways to connect with friends, family, and potential clients who might be interested in seeing your candid photos. You can even post them on a personal or business profile page for everyone to see.

Is candid photography legal?

Whether you’re an accomplished photographer or not, it’s important to be aware of the legal implications of taking and sharing images. In some cases, you may need the subject’s permission before you can publish or share their picture. In other cases, although you may be able to use the photo without permission, you may still face some legal risks. 

In the US for example, street photography is perfectly legal, but taking a photo of a person in a location where they can expect privacy (such as in a home or garden) is likely to breach privacy laws unless consent has been granted. It is for these reasons that most photographers ask for permission before publishing any candid images.

Candid photography captures real life as it happens

Ultimately, no matter how you define candid photography,  it boils down to capturing subjects in a natural, unplanned way. That might mean taking pictures of people who don’t know they’re being photographed, or it could simply be capturing someone in a moment that’s not posed or staged.

Above all, candid photography is all about capturing real life as it happens. Do you have any tips for taking candid photos? Get in touch and share your thoughts on candid photography in the comments below.

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