5 Tips for Taking Spectacular Candid Photos: Beginners’ Edition

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  By Taya Ivanova
5 Tips for Taking Spectacular Candid Photos: Beginners’ Edition www.sleeklens.com

Candid photography is a genre that revolves around spontaneity. It’s often associated with the family photographer because of its ability to capture real moment and expressions.

The main difference between candid and portrait photography is posing. While portrait photography usually requires a strong knowledge of flattering angles, poses, etc., candid photography relies on pure presence. Only by being in the moment will you be able to get the perfect candid shot.

Being a skilled candid photographer will give you access to loyal clients, provide you with photos that will make your portfolio look amazing, and strengthen your creativity skills. Even if it doesn’t become your main passion in life, it will leave you feeling refreshed.

Here are 5 ways you can embrace this gratifying genre and become a better candid photographer.

Take Photos Consciously

Candid photography is all about unpredictable moments. This means you can’t put your camera down unless you want to miss a great opportunity. However, make sure you don’t shoot mindlessly. Take as many photos as you can, but do it consciously. Be aware of what your clients are doing. Read their emotions. This will help you take meaningful photos.

One of the most effective ways to read someone’s emotions is to get to know them first. Before you photograph your clients, befriend them. Observe their mannerisms and listen to their stories. Though you won’t be able to read their faces perfectly, you’ll get a better idea of who they are as individuals. That’s significantly better than photographing strangers.

Shoot in Burst Mode

Most modern DSLRs have Burst mode, a feature that quickly takes lots of photos within a few seconds. This is ideal for moments when a lot is happening at once. Use burst mode to photograph your subjects when they’re laughing, playing, and moving around quickly.

Autofocus or Manual?

Manual focus is precise and requires a lot of patience. Autofocus, on the other hand, is very quick but may not give you the most precise results.

If you’re photographing a moving subject, you might focus on the wrong spot either way. It all depends on the situation and what you’re comfortable with. In my opinion, both autofocus and manual focus are great for candid photography, so experiment with both until you find a method that appeals to you.

Practice by Photographing Animals


are fantastic subjects for candid photography enthusiasts. If you have a pet, take photos of it while it plays and interacts with other animals. This will allow you to improve your skills without feeling awkward, wasting time, or making your subjects feel self-conscious. Most importantly, it will help you make mistakes without discouraging your clients.

If you don’t have access to animals, take photos of friends or family member when they’re busy talking to one another. In their presence, you won’t have to worry about awkwardness or mistakes.

low light candid portrait

Use High ISO Numbers in Low Light

If you’re going to take photos in relatively low lit areas, you’ll want to increase your camera’s ISO number. A high ISO number will capture more light, which will help you take sharper portraits. Experiment with different numbers until you find one that has the perfect amount of grain. My favorite range is ISO 400 – ISO 1600 (I use a Canon 5D mark ii.)

Don’t let grainy photos intimidate you. Most modern editing programs, including Photoshop and Lightroom, have brilliant noise-reducing features.

Candid photography is a genre that will fulfill you in many ways. It will improve your photography skills, strengthen your imagination, and give your clients unforgettable memories. Practice, experiment, and go make someone’s day using your unique point of view.

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I'm an admirer of nature, a photographer, and a curious reader. Writing about photography and helping others improve is a growing passion of mine. My constant wish is to inspire others to be creatively fearless and endlessly curious. "Always dream bigger is my advice to you, because you can have whatever your heart desires" - Ashley Graham

Comments (1)

  1. Emily Guest

    Simple and informative, I love the article! I guess candid photos are the only ones that actually show the real emotions of the people being photographed. If you can nail the shot then you’re actually getting a photo full of emotions.