Candid Photography


Candid photography is snapshot photography that focuses on spontaneity rather than technique, on perfecting the immersion of a camera within events rather than focusing on setting up a staged situation, focusing on lengthy camera setup, or focusing on particularly strong lenses.


Candid ShootThe photographic setup of candid photography is best described as un-posed and unplanned, immediate and unobtrusive. This is in contrast to classic photography, which includes aspects such as carefully staged portrait photography, landscape photography or object photography. Candid photography is supposed to catch rare instances of life from the very immersion into it, rather than to produce imagery of still life, to catch rare moments of “reality” which presupposes a definition of “reality.”

Candid photography is also set off against the voyeuristic stalking involved in animal photography, sports photography or photographic journalistic intrusion, which all have a very strong technical focus on getting distant objects photographed, e.g. by using telephoto lenses. Candid photography’s setup includes a photographer who is typically there with the “subjects” to be photographed if not close, and not hidden. People photographed on candid shots either ignore or accept the close presence of the photographer’s camera without posing for photos.

The events documented are often private, they involve people in close relation to something they do, or they involve people’s relation to each other. Candids are the kinds of pictures taken at children’s birthday parties and on Christmas morning, opening the presents; the pictures a wedding photographer takes at the reception, of people dancing, eating, and socializing with other guests. They are taken at leisure, or at special occasions, they show people as they are when they do not prepare to be photographed.

As an art form

Some professional photographers develop candid photography into an art form. Henri Cartier-Bresson might be considered the master of the art of candid photography, capturing the “decisive moment” in everyday life over a span of several decades. Arthur Fellig, better known as Weegee, was one of the great and renowned photographers to document life in the streets of New York to often capture life – and death – at their rawest edges. Almost all successful photographers in the field of candid photography master the art of making people relax and feel at ease around the camera, they master the art of blending in at parties, of finding acceptance despite an obvious intrusive element – the camera. This is certainly true for most celebrity photographers, such as René Burri, Raeburn Flerlage or Murray Garret.

It could be argued that candid photography is the purest form of photojournalism, and as such, it represents an evolution that relates to classic photography just as weblogging relates to classic journalism. There is a fine line between photojournalism and candid photography, a line that was blurred by photographers such as Bresson and Weegee. Photojournalism often sets out to tell a story in images, whereas candid photography simply captures people living an event.

Camera equipment

Technical equipment successfully employed for candid photography is typically lightweight, small and unobtrusive rather than big and intimidating. Lomo rule photography describes using an old Russian point-and shoot-camera for candid photography. Being close to the object or subject to be photographed makes up for small photo lenses. The larger the equipment, the more difficult to master the art of making the equipment appear to be unobtrusive to still achieve candid photography. The more delayed a shutter reacts to the button of a camera, the less useful a camera would be for taking snapshots of immediate situations. Digital cameras, therefore, have been less popular for candid photography than 35mm point and shoot cameras. In recent times however, prosumer level digital single-lens reflex cameras are as fast (button click–shutter trigger is, for all practical purposes, instantaneous) or faster (Sensor regulated shutters can expose for as little as 1/8000s) than professional 35mm film cameras.

As camera immersion into social events is the prime key to making candid photography happening, pictures typically reflect the technical constraints that go with this. Candid photography, unless performed digitally, requires sensitive film, as flash lights can cause cameras to stop from being an immersed part of a meeting or party, causing people to stage their photo appearance rather than behaving naturally. For this reason, candid photography often takes place outdoors, where the sun provides the light. Due to higher film speeds being required for inside photography or dark photography without flashlight, candid photography can feature very grainy, contrast-rich images.

As small point and shoot cameras with affordable lenses are used widely for candid photography, typical exhibits may feature vignetting and oversaturation of colours. Due to short reaction times, lighting or focus may be off. Due to flashlight being obstructive to candid photography, pictures may show glary overexposure, underexposure, color shifts or blurring. Such technical aspects of candid pictures are usually accepted as features of candid photography.falco-data de groove download