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General photography questions and answers: Discuss How to shoot Candids...In a reply to a recent thread showing some of my Candid Shots a member replied that he would feel ...
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Old 22-09-2007, 11:17   #1 (permalink)
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How to shoot Candids

In a reply to a recent thread showing some of my Candid Shots a member replied that he would feel uncomfortable taking a Candid. Well hopefully this short diatribe might help some members in their approach to Candid Photography.

Firstly this is a definition from Wikipaedia –

“Candid photography is snapshot photography that focuses on spontaneity rather than technique, on perfecting the immersion of a camera within events rather than focusing on setting up a staged situation, focusing on lengthy camera setup, or focusing on particularly strong lenses.”

There is a certain element of truth in that definition but I will challenge one of the points.

“Candid photography is snapshot photography that focuses on spontaneity rather than technique”

In my opinion you can use as much technique in Candids as any other form of photography. It involves all the normal settings you would use – aperture, SP, ISO etc. You can even use a tripod for Candids.

So I would suggest another slightly different definition of Candid Photography? To me it is –

“taking a photograph of a person or persons who are in their normal environment or situation and do not know they are being photographed.”

So how do I go about Candid Photography.
  • I might use my 30D or I might use my S602 Pro bridge camera. With the 30D it is about choosing the right lens for the situation and I will generally use a 24-105mm IS . You can’t spot a potential mark and then think about changing lenses. You are not taking landscapes so less than 24 is un-necessary and this lens gives me a reasonable amount of zoom for close-ups. I would not use, say a 100-400mm because if you need that amount of zoom then you are not in the thick of it and it could mark you out as a Peeping Tom.
  • Spend a bit of time first just walking about amongst people and looking for good shooting situations. I hang my camera over my shoulder rather than round my neck. The latter is rather more threatening to people.
  • Think about the settings you might use for a given situation – what aperture for a good DOF and therefore the related shutter speed. A lot of good candids can be taken at night or artificially lit environments so consideration of a higher ISO will allow you to control your shutter speed and negates the use of flash. I always shoot candids in manual so that I can get what I think are the optimum settings but I use AF for speed. Also if you use Auto, particularly with a bridge camera, it means the flash pops up and bingo.....everyone knows you are taking photographs. In certain light situations I will change to spot metering otherwise use evaluative.
  • So, taking the shots. Once I have had a good shufty about I will swing my camera to the front, still over my shoulder, so that I can take the shot in an instant. Sometimes I will use a wrist strap and just hold the camera to my side ready to take a shot. If I suspect possibly movement in the shot I might quickly set to continuous shooting so as to get the best option.
  • Then it’s a case of walking about and looking for those interesting people and situations. If you see a shot then just take it and walk on. Don’t faff about with the camera, remember your settings should be reasonably correct already. Just take the photo. Oh and don’t hang about chimping then, chances are, nobody has even noticed you were there.
  • In a static environment like a cafe or restaurant it becomes a tad more obvious you have a camera in your hand. Then I will give the impression I am shooting the environment, a distant view or the architecture. At the appropriate moment a quick frame of the mark, AF and the job’s done.
  • Lastly I will mention White Balance. Because scenes change dramatically – interior, exterior, sunshine, cloud etc I do use Auto WB. I will adjust that later in Lightroom.
I hope that this is of some use to members and if anyone would like to add their tips for shooting candids please append. Thanks for reading.
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Old 22-09-2007, 11:56   #2 (permalink)
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Re: How to shoot Candids

Good read that Stepheno

Have you ever been approached and asked to stop taking photos or are you so quick you never get noticed
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Old 22-09-2007, 12:04   #3 (permalink)
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Re: How to shoot Candids

Thanks P-E. Never asked to stop but was once asked why I was shooting - told them it was for a magazine project
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Old 22-09-2007, 12:07   #4 (permalink)
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Re: How to shoot Candids

The finest camera that I've ever found for candids is the Nikon S10. It's small, has a rotating lens head and, from six feet away, just doesn't look like a camera. It helps that the lens zooms to the equivalent of 300mm on 35mm and is stabilised. I've been grabbing candid shots for 40 years and this camera represents a major leap forward in technique.

Now, all they have to do is fix the shutter lag and it's damn near perfect!



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Old 22-09-2007, 12:07   #5 (permalink)
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Re: How to shoot Candids

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Originally Posted by stepheno View Post
Thanks P-E. Never asked to stop but was once asked why I was shooting - told them it was for a magazine project
LOL nice one.....I've said the same a few times
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Old 22-09-2007, 13:19   #6 (permalink)
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Re: How to shoot Candids

i have to say that im in a bit of a quandry in some respects of candid photography.

now how to put this in words?........... i dont have a problem with candids as such, however i do have a bit of a problem when people use a small camera or something that doesnt look like a camera, or even a camera phone ( which is why i hate camera phones they are such an invasion of privacy)....... if someone is walking abot with a camera obviously in their hand or round their neck then most folk will see the camera and either choose to ignore it or move away from it. BUT they dont have a choice if they dont even know a camera is in the area.
I know if someone was to take a pic of me and I didint even see the camera i would be furious cos i have an absolute HATE of having my picture taken.. If i am in an area where i can see people with cameras i do my best to avoid getting in front of them.
sounds a bit daft i know, and considering i have taken one or two candids it also sounds a bit hypocritical but the ones i have taken have been when i am in a position of obviously taking a pic and the people have chosen to ignore the camera.

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Old 22-09-2007, 21:31   #7 (permalink)
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Re: How to shoot Candids

I tend to agree with what you are saying Fi which is why I never hide the fact that I am taking photographs - then people can always say "please don't" and if they did say that I would respect their wishes.
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Old 03-11-2012, 06:00   #8 (permalink)
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Re: How to shoot Candids

Exactly ! I never try to hide the fact that I am taking pics, and if I get a good one, say of someone's child, I show it to the parent, and offer to send it if they seem to love it, if they say they have lots of pics, I say, "of course ! I will delete this , and I do, after all what do I want with a pic of someone Else's child , but if the pic is especially good, I have never been refused, if the pic didn't turn out I don't show it to them, I simply delete it. I find that taking pics of people's pets is a lot easier, people seldom refuse a good pic of their pet. I did once take a pic of a street person because he was so different, he carried his Bic lighter in a large hole in his ear ! and I just wanted to have a pic of that ! I must admit that I didn't show him the picture, and I got away with that one ! , but generally I look for interesting action such as someone performing a sport , and try to catch a good action shot. That's a lot of fun to try.
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Old 05-11-2012, 12:24   #9 (permalink)
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Re: How to shoot Candids

the climate for taking candid pictures, especially of kids without asking first has changed a lot in recent times,. to the extent that I simply would not attempt it,. ymmv
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Old 05-11-2012, 19:26   #10 (permalink)

PLEASE NOTE

I TYPE USING CAPITALS DUE TO A DISABILTY

THANKS FOR YOUR UNDERSTANDING
 
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Re: How to shoot Candids

Totally agree, our granddaughters school, will not allow anyone to take pictures or video any school play, prize giving etc.
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Old 06-11-2012, 12:04   #11 (permalink)
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Re: How to shoot Candids

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Totally agree, our granddaughters school, will not allow anyone to take pictures or video any school play, prize giving etc.
Now that is really sad.

Great tips in the how to. I have to agree with Silver about pointing cameras at other people children without asking first in the current state of fear.
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Old 18-11-2012, 09:36   #12 (permalink)
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Re: How to shoot Candids

I have never "Hid" the fact I have a camera, have always respected everyones wishes, and would stop if asked to.
However, I NEVER do the "Smile for the camera" bit....
I hate with a passion the way people do that artificial pose when they see a camera pointed at them.

Most of my best shots are from when people were NOT doing the "do something silly" routine?....
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