Simple tips for better candid photos

Jennifer Wilson

I’m your guide here at Simple Scrapper. Our community helps people find what fills you up and fits your life in memory keeping.

December 15, 2009


My most treasured photos offer glimpses into the subject’s personality or life. They capture fleeting moments of time and the subject’s reactions to joy and surprise as well as sadness. Candid images are not posed or staged and can be challenging to capture. Use these ideas to bring a new element to your family photography.

Around the corner. I like my subject to not know I am going to take a photo. I adjust my camera settings and prepare to shoot as I come out of whatever hiding spot works for the situation.

The element of forgetfulness. If the “around the corner” approach invokes the element of surprise, I found the opposite can work as well. Approach your subject with the camera, but then stopping snapping pics. Allow your subject to carry on and then slyly venture back into photographing.

Get up close. No one likes the camera right in his/her face, not even pets. Fill the frame by using your camera’s optical zoom or a prime lens (like a 50mm f/1.8) that will bring your subject closer without you intruding on precious personal space.

Distance yourself. I don’t mean physically, but sometimes it might be helpful to trade cameras with a friend or family member. While your own loved ones might react with “why, another photo?”, someone elses might ignore you. Bringing emotional distance to your photography can help your subjects be more at ease, though that does mean letting someone else touch your camera!

Distraction. Tag team with your spouse or another family member to distract the kids with a game, toy or something else fun. Catch them in the act while they are too focused to realize you’re there.

Slow down. Sometimes the best shots don’t have faces in them. Slow your walking pace down and grab a photo of your family on a snowy hike. Capture the memory of daddy and daughter holding hands or your twins in their matching outfits. Images of your loved ones walking down a path is both creative and thought-provoking.

There are many resources on the technical aspect of candid photography, like this post from Digital Photography School. I hope these unique tips will help family memory keepers capture those precious moments.

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