How to not be annoying… or, 3 steps to better candid photography ;)


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)

better candid photography

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2 Comments on How to not be annoying… or, 3 steps to better candid photography ;)

  1. deidre berry
    October 29, 2013 at 11:49 am (8 years ago)

    Thank you, Hannah for the tip about lighting. When I try to take pictures of my dog, Rowdy (who is black) he just looks like a little black blob. He has some amazing expressions, but I can’t seem to capture them. I’m going to try the window tip with him facing it to see if I can get some better results. Thanks again!!

  2. Sandra Bronk
    August 18, 2014 at 3:19 pm (7 years ago)

    I am a very amature photographer that has once in a while lucked into some shots of flowers that I have sold at our local gallery. My son and future daughter in law have asked me to do a shoot for their save the date cards for their wedding. The outside natural lighting tips will hopefully made this endeavor successful.