General Question

Kokoro's avatar

Advice on taking candid shots of other people?

Asked by Kokoro (1419points) March 1st, 2010

I love taking photos, especially candids. My problem is – I know how to capture moments, but I find it difficult to take them where the subject is satisfied with how they look in it. I have no problem doing portraits and making the subject look good, but it’s much more difficult in candids.

Moreso, I think they look just fine most of the time… I understand that people become more judgemental of how they look, but to me I embrace flaws and whatnot so it’s harder for me to know. How do I know or do it in a way that the subject will like it?


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13 Answers

Supergirl's avatar

I have always been interested in getting tips on this as well. Hopefully there are some great photographers out there that can send a few suggestions our way. Great question.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

Wear a pair of good running shoes because alot of people don’t like their photos taken and will want to screen them unless you have them sign some sort of model release.
It’s all about the quality of light.

njnyjobs's avatar

Don’t take pictures when they are speaking because chances are they will have their mouth open as they speak when you snap away. If you have to, try to time it when they are at a pause.. ... Try to take them in angles, avoid frontal shots….work with available lighting and try to capture them in different lights.

jaytkay's avatar

I like the ideas in this article:

10 Ways to Take Stunning Portraits

MissAnthrope's avatar

I suggest taking candids at parties or social events, where you can step back from the action and the people you’re shooting are able to get distracted. First, you have to acclimate them to your taking pictures, so expect the beginning ones to not be good because people have one eye on the camera and are feeling self-conscious.

After a while, especially if alcohol is flowing, people forget you’re there and they relax about the camera. This is when the real (good) shooting begins. Wander around inconspicuously and snap photos of people doing their thing. I think the best ones are when you catch them being animated, either telling a story, laughing at one, etc.

Try to avoid taking pictures of people eating, as that is rarely flattering. Also, if you shoot at a downward angle, it’s more flattering, as is getting the shot from a left or right angle (doesn’t have to be by much, but straight-on can be unflattering). Softer/warmer lighting helps, as well, as it’s more forgiving than fluorescents.

Lastly, try shooting in black and white.. I find it to be way more forgiving than color. Good luck!

Cruiser's avatar

Tell them you will count to 3 and when you say “1” click away like a fiend. Sneak attacks while people are eating or getting dressed are always good too! Like @lucillelucillelucille says good running shoes are a must for really great candids and practice running backwards while shooting. Invest in a good auto focus for these situations.

njnyjobs's avatar

If you can, silence your camera’s shutter sound and avoid using the flash so it doesn’t give you away when taking pics. . . play with aperture, shutter speed and ISO settings, with digital cameras, you can afford to take a boatload of pictures at a time anyway.

@jaytkay that’s a great resource, but tackles portraits…. Here’s one for candid photography

MissAnthrope's avatar

@njnyjobs – Great point about the shutter sound.. I did that right away on mine and didn’t even think to suggest it.

DrBill's avatar

There are some good ideas here, also carry releases with you so you can use/publish the pictures. be ready to tell people the possibility of THEM making money for letting you use their image.

stratman37's avatar

thanx, you’re welcome.

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