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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.
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.
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.
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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