If you or your clients have requested “candid” photos, this one’s for you. When we think of candid photos, we think of the perfectly relaxed, comfortable, effortlessly beautiful people laughing or looking at each other, as if they never knew the camera was there.

And it’s cute to think these photos are actually candid, but they’re not (sorry to burst your bubble). When clients request those staple “candids,” it’s more than just showing up and randomly catching the perfect frame–there’s a lot that goes into the perfect “candid”: lighting, posing, and more.  It’s my job to make you look effortless and at ease and that takes just a little bit of work.

I consider my style photo-journalistic, which is about as close to candid photos as it gets. It means I do my best to authentically capture people in the moment, without overediting, without filtering and excessive posing. But the reality is, for candid photos to look candid, many people need to be prompted.

This doesn’t always mean I’m perfectly posing people, telling them where to stand or look. It means that I’ve spent a lot of time behind the camera, and I know your angles better than you. Giving a little direction can go a long way.

For example, for family photos where a lot of people (especially kids) are in the frame, I might prompt them to tell the person next to them a secret. This usually elicits a laughing response, or whatever reaction is genuine to the secret keeper. That’s when I snap the shot and capture their essence.

Embracing the environment around you also helps set the stage for candids. It’s no secret I love to be outdoors, and many of the families and couples I work with like to be outside, too. Working with what’s naturally around us is another way to stage “candids,” from sunshine (hello, lens flares!), leaves, and snow to water and sticks, just letting people move through nature the way they do with a little bit of direction (“walk towards me over here”) helps me to pre-compose the photo, so lighting and contrast are on point.

The outcome is photos that appear to be “candid.”

Not very many people are naturally comfortable in front of the camera. You can help your clients feel at ease before they even arrive at the session by encouraging them to wear comfortable, weather-appropriate clothes and hairstyles they feel most confident in. 

When they feel their most natural, it shows on camera, making your job of capturing the perfect “candids” easy.

Looking for more tips regarding your portrait session? Look no further than here!