Tips for shooting candids

by James Sanders on 25 Feb ’08

candid wedding photograph

People often ask how we manage to get such great candids of their guests at the wedding and why is it that when they try to get candids of friends they look so bad? Well, there are a lot of things at work when trying to get great candid photos of people-

1- Your subjects need to be used to you having a camera pointing at them. Keep shooting and the camera will not draw their attention as much

2- Try to use natural or available light if possible, those pesky flashes will capture your subjects attention everytime. And if you have one of those red eye reduction flashes going on, kill it. If you are shooting candids then your subjects eyes will probably not be directed at the camera and the chance of red eye is diminished

3- Learn to anticipate a genuine smile or laugh. Watching people in conversations will teach you how to predict when a pause with a smile or a good laugh is coming.

4- Buy a camera with as little lag time as possible. We’ve all tried to catch a shot of someone in action, but those point and shoot digital cameras never seem to snap fast enough. You know what I mean, the kid jumps off the diving board, you hit the button and by the time the camera actually takes the picture the kid is out of the pool drying off and eating a sandwich. The better the camera the faster it responds to you. You’ll always have a little lag though, so work that into your learning to anticipate (see tip 3 above : )

5- Expect to not succeed too often at first. Shooting candids will show you just how much your friends blink or leave their mouth hanging open. So keep trying.

6- Be a people person. You have to like people to be interested in them enough to capture candids. If you are not a people person, stick to landscapes, pets or inanimate objects.

7- Use your telephoto setting if you have one. Try to keep some distance between you and your subject, but don’t get so far back that you lose the sense of intimacy in your shot.

So there you go, my crash course in great candids. Take a look at a few candid shots from recent weddings:

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This post was written by...

– who has written 312 posts on Elle Jae.

James Sanders is a lifelong lover of photography and is the principal photographer of Elle Jae. He specializes in wedding and lifestyle photography.

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