3 very simple steps to better candid photography (and ways to make sure you get asked back again )
1) Don’t have the biggest lens or the biggest flash.
Who cares what people think about the equipment you are carrying? Your job is to get the shot with the equipment you have. Smaller lenses actually lead to better candid photos because you are not intimidating them, nor is the subject just looking at your gear. If you see that people are more interested in your gear and your camera, engage in conversation with your subject about what they are doing. As they start talking about what they are doing, memories about the people at the event, or something like that, then you start getting great facial expressions and interactions.
2) Learn to use natural light – especially windows.
If your subject is facing the light source, then you will have so much more beauty to work with. If your subject is back lit, it’s hard to tell what the expression is on their face, and it will be harder for you to light correctly unless you really know your equipment (which is important). You don’t want to be fumbling around with your exposure and miss a really good shot.
3) Know your gear!
This only happens when you shoot, shoot, shoot. Be that person at every family gathering taking photos constantly- that’s how you get better. Important caveat to that: Don’t tell people to stop what they’re doing and smile and don’t tell them where to stand. That’s just annoying, and you can’t Photoshop out that annoyed look (believe me I’ve tried 😉 ).
If you become the one who documents events without getting in the way, or making it obvious that you are the one who has the awesome equipment, you will get some amazing shots. Your group will be focusing on the action at hand, and not the camera around them.
Just remember- great candid photography comes from knowing it’s not all about you, your awesome gear, or your amazing skill. It’s about using those skills to document a place and time in history. Now have fun and keep shooting!
(If you’re interested in workshops or classes to learn more from me – go here)