5 Quick Tips To Take Better Candid Portraits



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Candids are one of my personal favorite styles of photos–especially when it comes to portraits. For me, it’s all about capturing the essence of a moment in an unguarded and natural way. Since a lot of people are at least a little camera shy, a candid shot can really help!

Of course, there’s a little more to it than just snapping photos like a madman when no one is paying attention. If you want to capture truly awesome candids, the 5 quick and easy tips below will help you ensure your shots are Grade A.

Photo by Timofey Logachev / Unsplash License

Photo by Timofey Logachev / Unsplash License

1. Shoot Often

Really. Remember to carry your camera with you whenever possible and, just as importantly, shoot with it! Try to capture as many shots as possible. They won’t all be keepers, but you’ll be getting a lot of good practice that will save you time and improve your shots in the long run.

Photo by Frankie Cordoba / Unsplash License

Photo by Frankie Cordoba / Unsplash License

2.  Be Ready

Since your camera is already at your side (see Tip #1), make sure it’s always ready to go on a moment’s notice. If you’re moving around and notice a change in the light, take a second to readjust your exposure settings so you won’t risk missing a shot because your settings were incorrect and you couldn’t change them in time.

Photo by Tyler Nix / Unsplash License

Photo by Tyler Nix / Unsplash License

3. Don’t Rule Out Eye Contact

When you’re thinking candid shot, you’re most likely think a photo where the subject isn’t aware they are being photographed. And while that is mostly true, it’s okay to capture eye contact if done appropriately. Typically, the best opportunity to take a candid with eye contact is the split second the subject looks at the camera. Once they realize they are being photographed, it’s likely they will change their expression and the photo will loose the feel of a candid.

Photo by Yash Raut / Unsplash License

Photo by Yash Raut / Unsplash License

4. Look For Interactions

By nature, humans are fairly curious creatures. When we see a photograph with multiple people interacting, our minds immediately begin trying to piece together what the interaction is all about. As photographers, we can take advantage of this by photographing our candid subjects interacting with other people or animals–it will automatically make the shot more interesting to the human eye and mind!

Photo by Matt Reiter / Unsplash License

Photo by Matt Reiter / Unsplash License

5. Available Light Is The Best Light

For candid portraits, using natural or available light is almost always the best option. Since we’re trying to keep ourselves on the down low, don’t draw attention to yourself and distract your subjects by blasting them unexpectedly in the face with a flash.

Another little bonus tip I like to use when taking candids of younger children is to “guide” them a bit. Obviously, you don’t want to give them posing instructions, but it can be a real time saver by suggesting your younger subjects play in an aesthetically pleasing location you are confident you can get some good shots at. Thinking about these things in advance can save a few headaches when working with adults too!

The main thing is to just stay aware and alert–before long you’ll start spotting great photo ops before they even happen!

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Some photos on this page are being used under the Unsplash license.

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