Candid Photography, Without Their Attention

Candid photography is by definition taking pictures of people when they are unaware.  Part of the fun in photography is catching your human subjects off guard so that your pictures have more emotion.  Photographers who worked for magazines, like Time-Life, have been able to get candid shots of their subjects.  I think most of us can also remember the candid photographs of National Geographic Magazine giving rise to more emotion from the viewer.  Taking candid shots may appear easy although there are few techniques in the photography world that will make the candid shot worth more than just a snapshot of friends.

First and of course most important is to keep the subject in view while they are not paying attention.  The next step is training your eye to catch the moment.  You have to be able to move fast, but with design.  You need to have your camera set for the picture before you are even aware you will take the photograph.  The best way to do this is to have your phone or camera in the proper setting. Adjusting the settings on your phone or camera may allow for more artistic freedom but you might loose take the candid shot if your subject becomes aware of you. Also, take into account that your phone or camera needs a little time to focus.

Candid photography relies on the light; however, you may not always get to choose the angle.  The angle could be where you are standing at the time.  As a photographer of candid photography, you know the importance of choosing the best angle at the right moment that is possible. As you gain experience you will find that it gets easier to find the best angle.

The entire point of candid photography is to gain the unguarded moments of a person’s emotions, whether it is tears, happiness, love, or other emotions.  While it is true, you need to have light, angle, and a good camera on your phone to catch the shot it is more important to observe.  Most photographers are trained observers.  Their eyes will wander over the crowds, landscape, or other setting searching for the perfect shot.  They will always have a camera ready.  It can be extremely hard when you are taking photographs of your friends because they tend to be more involved in conversations or activities.

The key to taking candid photographs of your friends is to draw them away from the fact that you carry a camera. That is why it is easier to take candid shots with your phone.  If they forget you carry the tool, they are more likely going to act naturally.  Some friends tend to pose in front of the camera while others will shy away turning their backs when you get ready to take a photograph.  Knowing your friends will help you find the best way to take candid shots without their knowledge. 

Observing, having the camera ready, and understanding the basics of photography will yield you better results when you try for a candid shot.  Posing or turning away from the camera will take away from the shot you hoped to attain so hanging to the side or a little ahead can get you the shot you may need.  Profiles make great candid shots because the person will not realize you are taking a photograph until you have already clicked the button.  Candid photography can be one of the most rewarding arts of photography, but also vexing when the subject is aware of the camera. Candid photography is an art mastered by doing it and with a good camera on your phone, you are perfectly equipped to try it. You and your friends might be surprised by the results.


The best camera is the camera you have with you. Do you like to take pictures but don't always want to carry a camera bag? Then this blog is for you. Come on a journey to explore the possibilities and challenges of taking beautiful pictures with your smartphone.

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