What Really Goes Into Candid Photos

By the time I talk to a new client, they have already visited my website and have fallen in love with specific photos. When we talk about what they want from their photo session, they usually mention the word “candid”. The candid photos are their favorite. They don’t really like being posed. What most don’t realize is that many of those candid looking photos didn’t happen all on their own. 

parents looking at each other candid

I love a snuggle shot, don’t you? But I want you to really think about the last time you snuggled up your little one. If I snuck up with a camera and snapped a photo, there’s a good chance you wouldn’t love the way you look in  it. Your hair is probably falling over your eye, your chin is tucked down toward your chest creating, well, extra chins. You may be turned a way that makes your sweater pull at your back in all the wrong places. Does that mean you should avoid the snuggles? NO! Absolutely not. I’m a believer in snuggling up all the people you love. But for your photo session, mind if I help?

candid lifestyle newborn photos

I take care to lead my clients into poses that are both natural and make them look good, because you know what you do with a photo that doesn’t make you look good? Nothing. It stays on your computer, on your phone, but it never sees the light of day. It doesn’t make it to your walls and certainly not online. So I think it’s really important to make you look and feel really good both when you’re having the photos taken and when you’re holding them in your hands later.

It can also prove to be pretty difficult to get a lot of true candid shots during a short photo session. After all, everyone just spent the last hour or so doing their hair, putting on makeup and squeezing into brand new clothes. They’re there to have their picture taken. They’re ready to smile. And they’re hoping to get it done and over with as quickly as possible.

couple looking at each other

So while you love that photo where she’s throwing her head back laughing or the one where the nobody’s actually looking at the camera, chances are, it’s not 100% “candid”. I’ve done a little work to lead them there. I may have purposely said something funny to make her laugh or told the group to smile at each other, but not at the camera this time. Maybe I asked them to walk together toward the camera, but a little more slowly than usual, or to look back over their shoulders at me. 

large family candid shot

You can do this at home too. When you’re taking a group picture at your family’s Christmas this year, after you’ve snapped “the one where everyone’s looking”, quickly ask them to look and laugh at someone else and not the camera. You’ll probably get some big goofy laughs, but some really great smiles too. Take lots of quick pictures while they’re doing this and sort through later to find the ones you love. It’s also a great time to move your feet and get some different shots at other angles.  Zoom in and get just a couple of people in some shots and then zoom back out. 

family walking and girl jumping

Give it a shot with your kids. Choose some toys that would look great in a photo and sit them on the floor in front of them…you get down there too. Once they start playing, scoot back and start taking shots. Give them a few prompts as you go…”Can you give your sister a kiss?”,  “Roll the car super slow to Mommy”, “Everyone give a big giggle”. 

candid family photo

It’s okay to lead people into positions or situations that appear candid. It’s not faking it….those laughs are real, even if you had to ask for them to get it started. My favorite shots are the ones where not one person is actually looking at the camera, whether I planned it that way or not.

Until Next Time,

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emily ann photography