Ever since I was a little kid with a 110 camera and little rolls of film, it’s the candid moments I love to capture.
At Christmas, that often meant the expression on someone’s face as they opened a gift. However, over the years I discovered that there is a lot more to Christmas than the excitement of opening gifts.
I’ll show you a few specific ingredients to use if you would like to better capture candid moments this Christmas.
Why Candid Moments?
Taking candid photos is a fun challenge. You don’t get to direct the scene, and you have to take whatever the moment offers.
The benefit to this is that you really get to see what is going on. Many people complain that they miss out on a group or family experience because they’re always taking pictures. If you focus more on seeing than on clicking, you may find that you’re more in-tune to events than ever before.
“The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.” – Dorothea Lange
Even though you’re not in control of the scene, you can still make the most of the moments given to you by:
- Understanding the type of moment
- Choosing the best angle
- Paying attention to your background
- Learning to write about your photos
1. What kind of moment is it?
This first question I ask about a candid moment is whether it’s an action moment or an emotional moment.
What inspired you to pick up the camera? Are you anticipating a burst of excited emotion? Is somebody about to do something?
Action vs emotion is a quick way to understand the nature of the moment that is about to happen. This becomes more intuitive over time so you won’t have to overthink it.
2. What is the Best Angle to Use?
There are five main angles from which you can choose:
- Bird’s eye view
- High angle
- Face to face
- Low angle
- Bug’s eye view
My favorite angles for candid moments are high-angle because it often makes the scene appear more dramatic, and face-to-face, because it’s such an engaging angle.
3. Pay Attention to the Background
Backgrounds can be a distraction in your photo if they are messy or cluttered. But they can also add to the mood or story of your photo.
I try for one of two types of backgrounds:
- Clean and simple
You can see that the photos above either had a clean and simple background or something more scenic, but not cluttered.
Many photographers understand themselves to be creative people. Creative people are often compelled to write.
Take time this Christmas season to write about what is happening in your life. You can write about your kids, your parents, or your traditions. Think of it as a way of preserving some of your family history. Write about the moments of days gone by and the new moments happening around you.
Christmas can be a very difficult season for people who struggle with depression or anxiety. It can be a very sad time of year when you miss loved ones. Many people have found that writing helps you wrestle with and take control of what you’re struggling with.
As you grab your camera to take candid photos this Christmas, think:
- Is this an action or emotion moment?
- Which angle would look best?
- Is the background clean or scenic?
- What will I write about?
I would be thrilled to see some of your favorite Christmas photos when you post them in the comments below!