Make Yourself Invisible: 5 Tips for Successful Candid Photography

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By Trisha Bartle

You’ve just booked a gig for candid photography. Perhaps you’re capturing the spontaneous guest interaction at a wedding or getting crowd shots at a local fundraising event. While you have the best intentions, your shoot may be ruined if people keep posing for your pictures. Nothing says “this totally isn’t candid” like someone yelling “Cheese!” as they stare into your camera lens.

CandidImage01

As a candid photographer, you need to be invisible. No, I’m not talking about hiding in bushes. Creepiness is out of the question. Still, you need to blend in with the crowd so people can feel comfortable around you. If you’re having trouble staying invisible, follow these tips. You’ll be catching those heart-warming candid moments in no-time.

1. Let people know why you’re there. When someone sees a photographer, their first instinct is to smile and pose (or cringe and run away, depending on the person.) If they know ahead of time that you’re a candid photographer, they’ll hopefully staunch that urge to turn to you as you snap the picture.

CandidImage02

2. Pare down your equipment to the bare minimum. The more clunky stuff you have to carry around and set up, the more you’ll be noticed. Plus, it’ll be harder to capture those quick, spontaneous moments. If you can manage it, leave behind your tripod and reflector. Keep your DSLR on a strap around your neck and store extra memory cards or small lenses in a bag on your shoulder. You should be able to weave through the crowd without setting anything down or calling attention to yourself.

3. Stick with natural light. Do you know what one of the most distracting things about photography is? The flash. If your subject didn’t notice you before, she definitely will once you take your first picture. Instead of blinding all of your subjects, rendering candids impossible, use natural light whenever you can.

CandidImage03

4. Split up photography time by taking pictures of objects. Even if your key job is to take pictures of people, split up the time by capturing non-human subjects. This’ll give the humans a break—plus add some interesting shots to your portfolio. At a wedding, snap a shot of the shoes, bouquet or place settings. At an outdoor concert, get a shot of the empty stage, ticket stubs or merchandise table.

5. Act nonchalant when noticed. Even if you’re silent as a mouse, you may still get noticed as you take candid pictures. Every time someone spots you and looks to the camera, lower it and turn away. Act like you’re done with that shot and move on. You can come back to them again when they’re distracted.

What tips can you share about your own candid photography? What do you wear to blend in? Was there ever a time when people just wouldn’t stop posing for you? Let us know in the comments!

Trisha Bartle, living amidst the mountains of Montana, has a decade of experience capturing candid moments as a professional wedding photographer. Her pictures have been published in bridal guides. Trisha is also a professional writer with awards in blogging and short fiction. Check out her website at http://www.trishabartle.com/ and her award-winning beauty blog at http://www.makeupfiles.com/.

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  • With this one I pointed the camera at the sea and pretended to be a tourist. Then I quietly pointed the camera at this couple who did not see me so the shot was quite natural

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/wildlife_encounters/8024195321/in/set-72157631622385442

  • To collect photos and audio clips for my New Live Breakfast Ministry slideshow, I found it was important to spend plenty of time simply talking with the people. It both helped them to accept my presence, and settled my own jitters so that I could better see the realities there. After I sat around the piano for a bit singing hymns with a group of men, folks pretty much ignored me when I picked up my camera again.

  • Shelly Hawthorne

    Telephoto zoom lenses are great to get those candid shots with.

  • I was recently traveling in a big group of photographers. I decided to move a little away from photographers and shoot from a different angle and that made some difference!

    http://blogs.gonomad.com/traveltalesfromindia/2012/09/children-from-the-sungai-pasu-homestay-malaysia.html

  • Rebecca Ednie

    I’ve not done a lot of this but I would think that dressing appropriately would make a huge difference. Nothing says photographer at a wedding to me than a boring, out of place outfit. Which is fine maybe if you aren’t shooting candids but if you are, blending in makes a big difference. Still wear comfy sensible shoes and don’t get quite as dressed up as guests but decent hair, nice (flat) shoes, some make up for ladies and dressing maybe one step down from guests would be good. What that actually looks like will depend on the style of wedding. Since most weddings are formal, then semi-formal seems appropriate. Of course, this is all only to help blend in to take candid shots.

  • Scottc

    Interesting tips, not sure I’d make a good candid photographer.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lendog64/4285250254/

  • Zone focusing and shooting from ‘the hip’ while right in with the people will also reduce the attention you draw. You can shoot from the hip, but if you don’t want all the shots to have that low-down perspective, hold your arm out, shoot to your side, shoot behind you.

    Even holding the camera up close to your head but off to the side won’t immediately make people think you’re taking their picture quite like a huge black camera mashed to your face with the other eye squeezed shut.

    You could also turn off the focus assist beam: then nobody would even know if you took a picture or not, unless they could hear the shutter.

  • It may sound obvious but get yourself a good zoom lens, preferably with Image Stabilization. That way you can keep a good distance at all times.
    Also dress appropriately, if you turn up at a Slayer concert in a suit or a wedding in a t-shirt you’re going to stand out.

  • bart9h

    Once I was trying to take a candid shot of a group across the table. I had it all set up, framed the shot, when I was about to press the shutter when they noticed me, ruining the mood of the shot.

    What I did was to hold there like a statue, with the camera pointed at them, eye in the viewfinder and all. It was awkward at first, but after some time they began talking again, I still held freezed, then after some more time I became invisible, free to take the shot.

  • I work on the simple rule : hang around long enough and get people used to you. Once people are used to me walking around with camera they no longer pay any attention to me , of course keeping my distance discreet helps.

    A small mix of discreet and semi-posed :
    http://www.dewandemmer.com/preview-eloise-hein-holtons-wedding-makiti-muldersdrift/

  • CJAYJR

    My wife and I were recently invited to an outdoor wedding of one of her co-workers. Even though a wedding photographer was going to be there, my wife asked me to take my camera and take some candid shots for her (they’re good friends). At first I was a little apprehensive and did not want to get in the way. It just so happened that we arrived a little late and all the seats were taken. We stood in the back and althought I had taken a couple of shots of people milling around, the bride pulled in the the car right behind where I was standing. As she exited the car I turned and took a shot. She smiled and from then on I felt at easy and you can see the final outcome at: http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/3426931

    Calvin.

  • Rebecca, you have a very good point. If you want to blend in, you need to dress appropriately. I’ve seen far too many wedding photographers dressed in super shabby clothes. Believe me, guests will notice.

  • HB

    Nothing says blending-in like a small camera. The new(ish) class of interchangable lens mirrorless cameras are perfect for candid photography. They are small like a point and shoot but have large sensors to rival dSLRs in image quality.

  • Dodie Remedios

    I find that using a camera with a swivel screen helps a lot. I like using my Canon G12 when taking candid shots because it allows me to frame the shot while pointing the camera elsewhere, or position the camera in a way like you are just checking the settings of your camera or browsing pictures. apart from it being smaller than DSLRs, it takes really good pictures too, albeit its limitations.

  • Waseem

    When time is short and I am tight at space, usually I approach a group of people and tell them i need to shot a particular person. Of course that particular person is ready with his full pose and smiles. However, my target is always someone else who is not expecting being captured.

  • Scott

    If you have to hide what you’re doing, you’re doing something wrong.

  • Alex

    I only shoot for fun, but candid photography is my favorite thing to do. Especially at parties, the longer the night goes on the drunker people get and the less they care about the guy with the camera. Drunk photobombs on candid subjects also amuse the hell out of me.

  • I love streetphotography… some shots that I’ve made in Argentina http://www.flickr.com/photos/wanmiroba/sets/72157629071343988/

  • Chuck

    I took this shot on a photowalk with 50 other photographers. The couple had a photographer and a video guy as well. That’s another way to blend into a crowd…

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/chuckloes/4835935301/in/set-72157624466343793

  • For candid shots, I try to use telephoto lens, preferably about 200mm. You’re far enough that people don’t notice you. Just careful when taking the shots as people might get between your subject and yourself.

  • Duke

    Twice each year I shoot conventions, and here are a few of my tricks to avoid posed pictures. Blending is the key; they get used to your being around. It’s easier to shoot people in conversations; they’re usually listening or speaking and don’t notice me. When someone does look at the camera, I politely scold, “I can’t take your picture if you’re looking at me.” They immediately commence what they were doing, usually with a natural smile, and I fire away. Use your AF button; aim at the key person, compose, shoot. Too often, especially with just two people, the camera can focus beyond the subjects. Or if it’s a group and your key person is amongst people, you want to make sure he/she is the one in focus. I always use a zoom (16-85mm) and shoot as close as I can get. Eliminate fiddling, by relying on as few settings as possible. I have two key settings (Nikon D300, SB800), one for outdoors, one for indoors. They are as follows. Indoors, Manual exposure, 5.6 at 1/80, ISO 400-800 (farther away or larger the group, increase ISO), White Balance Auto, flash set to TTL with diffuser angled up 45 degrees, spot metering. Outdoors, matrix metering, diffuser straight on (not angled) and set to TTL BL, shutter priority 1/250, ISO 200 – 350. I paste these settings onto my flash unit, and i get darn near perfect exposures every time (Thanks Nikon CLS) and all i know is if I go outdoors, I have one set of settings to change, and vice-versa.

  • Tony

    If people notice you and pose, take the posed shot, but don’t stop shooting right away.
    I get my best candids by taking another shot immediately afterwards, when they’ve relaxed again.

  • For candids, I use my Oly OM-D with a Lumix 14mm pancake lens… The whole apparatus gets so small, silent yet so powerful, that almost no one notices when I click them…
    Moreover, I tend to click from the hip, rather than picking it up to the eyes.. It’s easy to do so with a prime lens that you know the coverage of! 🙂

  • Kishan

    I use Canon 50 mm f1.8 for Candid & street shots. Its an inexpensive lens and also works great in low lights and indoors. Also, you can isolate subjects with the low DOF.

    I also like to shoot pictures of people with candid smiles.. When I look at these pictures, it feels that life’s so good 🙂

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/76601665@N00/7850676558/in/photostream/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/76601665@N00/5712179978/in/photostream/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/76601665@N00/5817226670/in/photostream

  • James

    I learned about candids by practicing as it were around family. Are a while they all get used to it and pretty much ignore you. My biggest challenge is to capture my grand kids at play. They move so fast from one thing to another, that it teaches you how to be ready at all times. I find it a wonderful medium in photography

  • Madhu

    Nice tips.
    Pls see the candid photo of a cute girl
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/98795956@N00/

  • Madhu
  • As others have written, spending time around the people you are photographing is essential. You need to blend in so dress like them if that’s feasible. But most importantly be ready for the shot. Know where the sun is, the best background and the most interesting looking people – who you need to seek out from the rest. Keep checking your settings and learn how to quickly change the settings using the exposure compensation control remembering to return it to zero afterwards. Circumstances will result in some of your best shots being seriously under or over exposed, help it at hand. Always shoot raw, when finances permit get a body that performs well at high ISO’s and then covert the raw file with Adobe Raw Converter 7. The control you will have correcting blown highlights and block out shadows will blow you away. ARC7 is also in the latest version of Lightroom.

  • Anthony

    When I want candid photo’s at events, I often give a couple of compact camera’s to some of the children to run around taking pictures. Most people tend to ignore 10 – 15 year olds running around taking snapshots. They also have a different perspective to adults and you end up with some excellent shots.

  • I believe that candid portraits (I prefer the term “unposed”) should reflect respect for the subject. This makes me avoid attempting to disguise my intentions. In practice, I find that people who are interesting are usually deeply engaged in some activity and so long as I am out of their direct line of sight, then I can get an unposed shot. I agree with the post that mentioned the situation where the subject does notice me. I can often just wave or get implicit permission to photograph and the subject will go back to ignoring me.

  • Whist not usually interested in shooting people (correct that – photographing – people seem to be attracted to ruining work by trying to be in shot or to jostle) I ‘do’ scenic and vintage engineering stuff as a rule, I find that candid is easiest when there is someone there doing the formal stuff. That way everybody is interested in him and I can get up to all sorts of camera mischief behind the scenes.

  • Ruth Moucharafieh
  • Karen

    I was asked to photograph a wedding for a friend. Since I was a novice, I insisted that she hire someone but I would take the candids. Your tips were all very good and are essentially what I did and my candids came out better than the hired pro’s. But knowing the professional was there to cover the important photos did allow me to be more relaxed and creative. There was one affect created that I believe enhanced the photos that I took. The wedding was a small outdoor wedding and they had made a canopy of white parachute silk which diffused the bright light, creating a beautiful lighting platform.

  • L’ars Henriksson

    When I have taken a candid picture of some person who heard the click and turrned to me, I lower the camera and stare “very interested” like 10 meters beside the person. He or she then thinks that I photographed someone else! Or else I go to the person and tell him he has got a most distinguished face. Both ways do the trick!

  • Juliet Igho’

    I lovecandid shots. I normally takecandid shots with my telephoto lens…

  • Valerie

    I think the comments are about as informational as the article itself! Thanks to everyone for sharing their experiences and expertise!

    I agree that the zoom lens provides my best and most interesting candid shots. From the distance that my 200mm allows, no one has any idea that I’m taking their picture, and I have perfect freedom. What does crack me up, though, is when I’m taking a picture of someone, say 100 yds. from me, and the person standing to the side about 10 yds. from me says, “Oh! I’m sorry! I was in your way!” when they weren’t even near being in the frame. : ) Oh! the beauty of a DSLR! : )

    I have also found, as so many others have already stated, that wearing clothes appropriate to the occasion is an absolute must for candids as well as mingling incognito with the people you are going to be photographing. Last April, I was asked to be photog for a rather extravagant children’s party. Casual, but nice. So I chose a casual khaki skirt (with pockets!!!) and a knit top, both paired nicely with some dark hiking shoes for comfort. No one knew I was the hired photog even though I had a LowePro fanny pack full of camera gear until the hostess spread the word…. but by then, everyone was comfortable with me being there and paid no more attention to me than before.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/im-a-photog/sets/72157631722940252/

  • DG

    Here’s a fun photo I took at a monastery. Look at this little monk:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/1010am_dg/8077717989/in/photostream

  • This is a photograph I took in Edinburgh. It’s a group of Chinese tourists having fun, dressed with kilts while trying to take photographs of one of their friend’s underwear.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/carlosvander/6258476453/in/set-72157631180769818

  • WetcoastBob

    I use a camera with an articulating view screen so that you can shoot from the waist which makes you almost invisible.

  • Scott

    If you have to be sneaky about it, maybe you’re doing something wrong.

  • Jan-Michael Barlow

    I have a somewhat large event tonight to do candid and some head shots for a company’s open house event. the idea of having a 200mm lens lugging around a large event seems daunting and rather (flattening). The longer lens you use, the flatter and more 2 dimensional your images will turn out. Stick with two basic lenses (primes if you can manage) 50mm/85-105mm These will give you some nice depth, and with the longer 85-105 lens you can stand back some. I say Primes because they are typically faster lenses meaning, smaller F-stops, which will be priceless in lower lite situations. I will need to be using flash here (when needed) due to the low light casual feel they are going with for the event, but my angle of approach is to use my flash off camera in my hand with my Auto-focus on continuous-3D mode which will free up and hand. having your flash off camera does two things in my opinion, gives the sense of studio lighting, not entirely but getting closer to it, and its the typical hot-shoe flash type picture. When it comes to big bucks event like larger groups, especially with very low lighting to deal with you have to think outside of the box while still keeping some of the standard older trains of thought, this is all my opinion so if this strikes you as useful great.

    I’ll be using Photix wireless system for this event when using my flash off camera.

    The information in this article really helped me get ready for other things, like dressing for the occasion. priceless and I wouldn’t have thought of that one. taking photos of random items in the space is also great bit of advice for these types of events. But the best thing that you can do is get there earlier then the start time, letting the host(s) know to let people know there’s a photographer taking CANDID photos. this may not get everyone ready for seeing a camera around but will plant a seed in their minds getting them somewhat ready for the possible flash and lens near them.

    Have fun on all your shoots!

    Take a peak at my sites
    Email me with comments/critiques. Always have an open ear to creative minds…
    there’s comments plug-in on the web-site so please feel free to send me something, or a link to you sites/works!

    http://www.janmichaelbarlowphotography.com

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/janbarlow/

    https://www.facebook.com/JanMichaelBarlowPhotography?ref=hl

  • Barbara Brock

    I hit the streets in Spokane, Washington recently. At first I was a little intimidated, but I found that if I avoided EVER having eye contact, the person usually thought I was not photographing them. If by some circumstance I DID have eye contact, I just smiled real big and gave them a thumbs up! They usually smiled and that was it. I also like to shoot from the hip.

  • Angelfire

    Love that line- Creepiness is out of the question- heheh well said

    http://www.timelessweddingmoments.com

Some Older Comments

  • Scott March 9, 2013 10:05 am

    If you have to be sneaky about it, maybe you're doing something wrong.

  • WetcoastBob March 8, 2013 02:23 pm

    I use a camera with an articulating view screen so that you can shoot from the waist which makes you almost invisible.

  • Carlos Leiva October 14, 2012 06:04 am

    This is a photograph I took in Edinburgh. It's a group of Chinese tourists having fun, dressed with kilts while trying to take photographs of one of their friend's underwear.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/carlosvander/6258476453/in/set-72157631180769818

  • DG October 12, 2012 05:50 am

    Here's a fun photo I took at a monastery. Look at this little monk:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/1010am_dg/8077717989/in/photostream

  • Valerie October 9, 2012 05:59 am

    I think the comments are about as informational as the article itself! Thanks to everyone for sharing their experiences and expertise!

    I agree that the zoom lens provides my best and most interesting candid shots. From the distance that my 200mm allows, no one has any idea that I'm taking their picture, and I have perfect freedom. What does crack me up, though, is when I'm taking a picture of someone, say 100 yds. from me, and the person standing to the side about 10 yds. from me says, "Oh! I'm sorry! I was in your way!" when they weren't even near being in the frame. : ) Oh! the beauty of a DSLR! : )

    I have also found, as so many others have already stated, that wearing clothes appropriate to the occasion is an absolute must for candids as well as mingling incognito with the people you are going to be photographing. Last April, I was asked to be photog for a rather extravagant children's party. Casual, but nice. So I chose a casual khaki skirt (with pockets!!!) and a knit top, both paired nicely with some dark hiking shoes for comfort. No one knew I was the hired photog even though I had a LowePro fanny pack full of camera gear until the hostess spread the word.... but by then, everyone was comfortable with me being there and paid no more attention to me than before.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/im-a-photog/sets/72157631722940252/

  • Juliet Igho' October 8, 2012 08:39 am

    I lovecandid shots. I normally takecandid shots with my telephoto lens...

  • L'ars Henriksson October 8, 2012 03:38 am

    When I have taken a candid picture of some person who heard the click and turrned to me, I lower the camera and stare "very interested" like 10 meters beside the person. He or she then thinks that I photographed someone else! Or else I go to the person and tell him he has got a most distinguished face. Both ways do the trick!

  • Karen October 7, 2012 10:00 pm

    I was asked to photograph a wedding for a friend. Since I was a novice, I insisted that she hire someone but I would take the candids. Your tips were all very good and are essentially what I did and my candids came out better than the hired pro's. But knowing the professional was there to cover the important photos did allow me to be more relaxed and creative. There was one affect created that I believe enhanced the photos that I took. The wedding was a small outdoor wedding and they had made a canopy of white parachute silk which diffused the bright light, creating a beautiful lighting platform.

  • Ruth Moucharafieh October 7, 2012 12:25 am

    Great advice.....
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/ruthmoucharafieh/8059458693/[/img]

  • Keith J Chesworth October 6, 2012 06:58 pm

    Whist not usually interested in shooting people (correct that - photographing - people seem to be attracted to ruining work by trying to be in shot or to jostle) I 'do' scenic and vintage engineering stuff as a rule, I find that candid is easiest when there is someone there doing the formal stuff. That way everybody is interested in him and I can get up to all sorts of camera mischief behind the scenes.

  • Harry Matthews October 6, 2012 03:34 pm

    I believe that candid portraits (I prefer the term "unposed") should reflect respect for the subject. This makes me avoid attempting to disguise my intentions. In practice, I find that people who are interesting are usually deeply engaged in some activity and so long as I am out of their direct line of sight, then I can get an unposed shot. I agree with the post that mentioned the situation where the subject does notice me. I can often just wave or get implicit permission to photograph and the subject will go back to ignoring me.

  • Anthony October 6, 2012 01:59 am

    When I want candid photo's at events, I often give a couple of compact camera's to some of the children to run around taking pictures. Most people tend to ignore 10 - 15 year olds running around taking snapshots. They also have a different perspective to adults and you end up with some excellent shots.

  • Tony Smith October 5, 2012 08:27 pm

    As others have written, spending time around the people you are photographing is essential. You need to blend in so dress like them if that's feasible. But most importantly be ready for the shot. Know where the sun is, the best background and the most interesting looking people - who you need to seek out from the rest. Keep checking your settings and learn how to quickly change the settings using the exposure compensation control remembering to return it to zero afterwards. Circumstances will result in some of your best shots being seriously under or over exposed, help it at hand. Always shoot raw, when finances permit get a body that performs well at high ISO's and then covert the raw file with Adobe Raw Converter 7. The control you will have correcting blown highlights and block out shadows will blow you away. ARC7 is also in the latest version of Lightroom.

  • Madhu October 5, 2012 06:55 pm

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/98795956@N00/

  • Madhu October 5, 2012 06:09 pm

    Nice tips.
    Pls see the candid photo of a cute girl
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/98795956@N00/

  • James October 5, 2012 05:04 pm

    I learned about candids by practicing as it were around family. Are a while they all get used to it and pretty much ignore you. My biggest challenge is to capture my grand kids at play. They move so fast from one thing to another, that it teaches you how to be ready at all times. I find it a wonderful medium in photography

  • Kishan October 5, 2012 01:35 pm

    I use Canon 50 mm f1.8 for Candid & street shots. Its an inexpensive lens and also works great in low lights and indoors. Also, you can isolate subjects with the low DOF.

    I also like to shoot pictures of people with candid smiles.. When I look at these pictures, it feels that life's so good :)

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/76601665@N00/7850676558/in/photostream/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/76601665@N00/5712179978/in/photostream/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/76601665@N00/5817226670/in/photostream

  • Mithun October 5, 2012 01:11 pm

    For candids, I use my Oly OM-D with a Lumix 14mm pancake lens... The whole apparatus gets so small, silent yet so powerful, that almost no one notices when I click them...
    Moreover, I tend to click from the hip, rather than picking it up to the eyes.. It's easy to do so with a prime lens that you know the coverage of! :)

  • Tony October 5, 2012 12:59 pm

    If people notice you and pose, take the posed shot, but don't stop shooting right away.
    I get my best candids by taking another shot immediately afterwards, when they've relaxed again.

  • Duke October 5, 2012 06:55 am

    Twice each year I shoot conventions, and here are a few of my tricks to avoid posed pictures. Blending is the key; they get used to your being around. It's easier to shoot people in conversations; they're usually listening or speaking and don't notice me. When someone does look at the camera, I politely scold, "I can't take your picture if you're looking at me." They immediately commence what they were doing, usually with a natural smile, and I fire away. Use your AF button; aim at the key person, compose, shoot. Too often, especially with just two people, the camera can focus beyond the subjects. Or if it's a group and your key person is amongst people, you want to make sure he/she is the one in focus. I always use a zoom (16-85mm) and shoot as close as I can get. Eliminate fiddling, by relying on as few settings as possible. I have two key settings (Nikon D300, SB800), one for outdoors, one for indoors. They are as follows. Indoors, Manual exposure, 5.6 at 1/80, ISO 400-800 (farther away or larger the group, increase ISO), White Balance Auto, flash set to TTL with diffuser angled up 45 degrees, spot metering. Outdoors, matrix metering, diffuser straight on (not angled) and set to TTL BL, shutter priority 1/250, ISO 200 - 350. I paste these settings onto my flash unit, and i get darn near perfect exposures every time (Thanks Nikon CLS) and all i know is if I go outdoors, I have one set of settings to change, and vice-versa.

  • Alvin Ganay October 5, 2012 06:04 am

    For candid shots, I try to use telephoto lens, preferably about 200mm. You're far enough that people don't notice you. Just careful when taking the shots as people might get between your subject and yourself.

  • Chuck October 5, 2012 02:34 am

    I took this shot on a photowalk with 50 other photographers. The couple had a photographer and a video guy as well. That's another way to blend into a crowd...

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/chuckloes/4835935301/in/set-72157624466343793

  • Gabriel October 5, 2012 02:14 am

    I love streetphotography... some shots that I've made in Argentina http://www.flickr.com/photos/wanmiroba/sets/72157629071343988/

  • Alex October 4, 2012 02:58 pm

    I only shoot for fun, but candid photography is my favorite thing to do. Especially at parties, the longer the night goes on the drunker people get and the less they care about the guy with the camera. Drunk photobombs on candid subjects also amuse the hell out of me.

  • Scott October 3, 2012 10:35 pm

    If you have to hide what you're doing, you're doing something wrong.

  • Waseem October 3, 2012 03:39 pm

    When time is short and I am tight at space, usually I approach a group of people and tell them i need to shot a particular person. Of course that particular person is ready with his full pose and smiles. However, my target is always someone else who is not expecting being captured.

  • Dodie Remedios October 2, 2012 03:50 pm

    I find that using a camera with a swivel screen helps a lot. I like using my Canon G12 when taking candid shots because it allows me to frame the shot while pointing the camera elsewhere, or position the camera in a way like you are just checking the settings of your camera or browsing pictures. apart from it being smaller than DSLRs, it takes really good pictures too, albeit its limitations.

  • HB October 2, 2012 08:02 am

    Nothing says blending-in like a small camera. The new(ish) class of interchangable lens mirrorless cameras are perfect for candid photography. They are small like a point and shoot but have large sensors to rival dSLRs in image quality.

  • Trisha Bartle October 2, 2012 04:00 am

    Rebecca, you have a very good point. If you want to blend in, you need to dress appropriately. I've seen far too many wedding photographers dressed in super shabby clothes. Believe me, guests will notice.

  • CJAYJR October 2, 2012 03:49 am

    My wife and I were recently invited to an outdoor wedding of one of her co-workers. Even though a wedding photographer was going to be there, my wife asked me to take my camera and take some candid shots for her (they're good friends). At first I was a little apprehensive and did not want to get in the way. It just so happened that we arrived a little late and all the seats were taken. We stood in the back and althought I had taken a couple of shots of people milling around, the bride pulled in the the car right behind where I was standing. As she exited the car I turned and took a shot. She smiled and from then on I felt at easy and you can see the final outcome at: http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/3426931

    Calvin.

  • Dewan Demmer October 2, 2012 02:05 am

    I work on the simple rule : hang around long enough and get people used to you. Once people are used to me walking around with camera they no longer pay any attention to me , of course keeping my distance discreet helps.

    A small mix of discreet and semi-posed :
    http://www.dewandemmer.com/preview-eloise-hein-holtons-wedding-makiti-muldersdrift/

  • bart9h October 2, 2012 01:43 am

    Once I was trying to take a candid shot of a group across the table. I had it all set up, framed the shot, when I was about to press the shutter when they noticed me, ruining the mood of the shot.

    What I did was to hold there like a statue, with the camera pointed at them, eye in the viewfinder and all. It was awkward at first, but after some time they began talking again, I still held freezed, then after some more time I became invisible, free to take the shot.

  • Niki Jones October 1, 2012 08:04 pm

    It may sound obvious but get yourself a good zoom lens, preferably with Image Stabilization. That way you can keep a good distance at all times.
    Also dress appropriately, if you turn up at a Slayer concert in a suit or a wedding in a t-shirt you're going to stand out.

  • Hagen October 1, 2012 01:53 am

    Zone focusing and shooting from 'the hip' while right in with the people will also reduce the attention you draw. You can shoot from the hip, but if you don't want all the shots to have that low-down perspective, hold your arm out, shoot to your side, shoot behind you.

    Even holding the camera up close to your head but off to the side won't immediately make people think you're taking their picture quite like a huge black camera mashed to your face with the other eye squeezed shut.

    You could also turn off the focus assist beam: then nobody would even know if you took a picture or not, unless they could hear the shutter.

  • Scottc September 30, 2012 09:53 pm

    Interesting tips, not sure I'd make a good candid photographer.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lendog64/4285250254/

  • Rebecca Ednie September 30, 2012 09:47 pm

    I've not done a lot of this but I would think that dressing appropriately would make a huge difference. Nothing says photographer at a wedding to me than a boring, out of place outfit. Which is fine maybe if you aren't shooting candids but if you are, blending in makes a big difference. Still wear comfy sensible shoes and don't get quite as dressed up as guests but decent hair, nice (flat) shoes, some make up for ladies and dressing maybe one step down from guests would be good. What that actually looks like will depend on the style of wedding. Since most weddings are formal, then semi-formal seems appropriate. Of course, this is all only to help blend in to take candid shots.

  • Mridula September 30, 2012 04:06 pm

    I was recently traveling in a big group of photographers. I decided to move a little away from photographers and shoot from a different angle and that made some difference!

    http://blogs.gonomad.com/traveltalesfromindia/2012/09/children-from-the-sungai-pasu-homestay-malaysia.html

  • Shelly Hawthorne September 30, 2012 08:01 am

    Telephoto zoom lenses are great to get those candid shots with.

  • Dave Bezaire September 30, 2012 07:08 am

    To collect photos and audio clips for my New Live Breakfast Ministry slideshow, I found it was important to spend plenty of time simply talking with the people. It both helped them to accept my presence, and settled my own jitters so that I could better see the realities there. After I sat around the piano for a bit singing hymns with a group of men, folks pretty much ignored me when I picked up my camera again.

  • Steve September 30, 2012 06:44 am

    With this one I pointed the camera at the sea and pretended to be a tourist. Then I quietly pointed the camera at this couple who did not see me so the shot was quite natural

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/wildlife_encounters/8024195321/in/set-72157631622385442

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