Since you won’t know where you are going or what you will be taking photos of, candid photography is a bit like stepping in to the unknown, and it is this that makes it so good. There is no pressure with candid photography, there are no expectations with candid photography and you have a total free reign over what you want to take photos of. Since I have been dabbling with candid photography for a few years now I thought I would share my top 6 candid photography tips, you may find useful.
1. Candid photography tips – Always have a camera to hand
By their very nature candid photography opportunities are unpredictable and will arise out of the blue, when you’re not expecting it, and when the opportunities arise you have to make sure you’re ready and have your camera to hand to make the most of it. When taking candid photos you won’t have the time to get to your camera bag, open it, remove your camera, turn it on and take the photo. Oh no, you need to make sure you can get the camera and get it to your eye ready to take the shot in a split second.
I know from personal experience it is not always possible to handhold the camera, and in these circumstances I have my camera down by my side attached to a Sun Sniper strap. With the camera attached to the Sun Sniper I can get it to my eye and ready to take a shot very quickly. Okay, it is quicker if I hold the camera but only just. The Sun Sniper camera strap is an essential bit of kit for candid photography.
2. Candid photography tips – Know your camera intimately
If you want to be a successful candid photographer it is crucial you know your camera intimately and know how to change all the settings quickly and accurately. Ideally, you should know how to change all the key settings looking through the view finder. If you don’t know how to change the settings and have to faff around searching through the menu screens etc. a lot of photo opportunities are going to pass you by.
3. Candid photography tips – Shoot in a semi-automatic mode
When taking candid photos you don’t want to be setting the exposure manually because you are going to miss a lot of opportunities, and you’ll have to trust me on this. There are many photographers out there with the “must shoot in full manual mode” attitude, and you have to make sure you don’t fall in this camp. When taking candid photos I set the camera in aperture mode (if I want to control the depth of field) or shutter priority mode (if I want to control the shutter speed) and let the camera sort out the other variable. I will tweak the settings with exposure compensation, as I see fit.
Shooting in a semi-automatic mode and tweaking with exposure compensation is the way forward, and in order to do this you have to know where the exposure compensation button is on your camera, and also how to use it.
4. Candid photography tips - Use auto focus
Time is of the essence when it comes to capturing great candid photos, and manual focusing will slow you down. Even if you are a quick and efficient at manually focusing your lens (I know there are some people like this out there) there is still the chances you will run out of time and miss the shot. Rather than focusing manually I suggest using the lens in auto focus to get in the ball park, and then tweaking it manually.
5. Candid photography tips – Shoot in burst mode
Shooting in burst mode will increase your keeper rate and help you bag those decent candid shots. The slightest change in body position, the smallest change in facial position or the smallest movement can turn an okay shot in to an excellent shot, and shooting in burst mode will give you more opportunity to take advantage of this.
Shooting in burst mode is going to use more memory than shooting in single shot mode, so it is important to make sure you have a good supply of memory cards to make sure you can keep shooting and not cut the shoot short.
6. Candid photography tips – Keep shooting
One of the best candid photography tips I learned from a fellow photographer is to keep shooting and take as many photos as possible, and if I don’t have at least a few hundred photos after a candid photography shoot I am not doing it right. There will be a lot of missed shots and shots that just don’t work after a candid photography shoot, and a keeper rate of 10% is pretty normal. When taking candid shots you simply have to apply the settings you think, compose the shot and press the shutter button and keep pressing the shutter button. It is best to have to take too many shots and have to delete a few than take too few shots trying to get the “perfect” shot and get no keepers at all.
Keen photographer addicted to cameras, lenses and everything photography related. Feel free to follow me in my photography ramblings, and if you have any thoughts, comments, queries or anything else to add I would love to hear from you.