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 photos have more emotion. Photographers who work for magazines, like Time-Life, have been able to get candid shots of their subjects. I think most of us can remember the black and white photographs of Africans and others, giving rise to more emotion from the viewer. Taking candid shots may appear easy, although few techniques in the photography world 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 a photograph. The best way to do this if you have a digital or automatic camera is to keep it in the proper setting. Manual cameras take moments to focus and can lose the candid shot if your subject becomes aware of you.
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 selecting the best corner at the right moment that is possible.
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 the light, angle, and an excellent camera 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 tough 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. If they forget you carry the tool, they are more likely going to act natural. 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. Always remember the camera when going out with friends.