kids candis photo with Kate white brick wall with red hearts Valentine's Day Backdrop for Photography designed by Jerry_Sina

What is Candid Photo Meaning | How to Shoot Great Ones?

If you are a photographer or a photography enthusiast, you must have seen photos of people taken without their knowledge or permission. These types of photos are called candid photos, one of the most popular genres in photography.

Do you know the basic tips for candid photography and how they are shot? In this article, we will discuss all about candid photography, its tips, and how to capture them.

What Is Candid Photo Meaning?

A candid photo is a photograph that captures a person or scene without the subject's knowledge. There is no posed expression or artificial setting—the subject is caught in the act of living.

This makes candid photography have a more natural and realistic feel to it because you are not staging anything.

21 Tips for Candid Photography

Taking perfect candid photos is sometimes challenging for most photographers, especially those new to this genre of photography. Even though candid pictures are taken while the subject is unaware of the photographer's presence, it is not as easy as it seems.

However, several tips can help you take great candid photos on the streets, kids, and wedding photography.

Street Photography

Candid street photography is a genre of photography that captures everyday life in public places. It is characterized by its natural, unposed composition and focuses on everyday, ordinary people.

street candid photo of a couple by James X on Unsplash

Photo by James X on Unsplash

1. Dress Informally

When taking candid street photos, blending in with your surroundings is essential. Wear clothes that won't stand out, such as jeans and a t-shirt, to avoid attention.

2. Minimal Gear

You don't require much gear to take great street candid photos. A small, lightweight camera is all you need. You should also leave your tripod home if you're planning on doing a lot of walking.

3. Photographing at Ground Level

Among excellent ways to get great street candid photos is to photograph at ground level. This lets you get close to your subjects and capture their expressions and emotions.

4. Be Patient and Wait for the Right Moment

A good street candid photo is all about timing. You need to be patient and wait for the right moment to press the shutter. When photographing people, look for moments of interaction or interesting body language. If you're photographing cityscapes, look for moments of light and shadow.

5. Be Familiar with the Street Scene

Before taking photos, it's a good idea to familiarise yourself with the area. This will help you anticipate the flow of people and traffic and give you a better idea of where the best photo opportunities are.

street candid photo of a man by bruce mars on Unsplash

Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

6. Be Friendly to the People

When capturing candid photos of people, it's important to be friendly and approachable. Ensure to make eye contact and smile with the people you photograph. If you seem friendly, people will be more likely to cooperate with you.

7. Be Conversant and Quick with Your Camera Setting

This will allow you to change settings as the situation warrants it quickly.

Kids Photography

Candid Kids photography is a genre of photography that involves taking pictures of children without them being aware of it. It is a style of photography that parents often use to capture their children's natural expressions and behavior.

8. Take a Lot of Photos

Taking one or two shots and hoping for the best will not cut it when it comes to candid photography.

You must be prepared to take dozens, if not hundreds, of photos to get a few good ones.

9. Do Not Direct the Scene

a girl's candid photo with Kate Rugby American Football Match Sports Backdrop for Photography

Kate Rugby American Football Match Sports Backdrop for Photography

The results will look very posed and unnatural if you try to pose or direct your subjects. Instead, let the kids play and interact with each other while you capture the moment.

10. Give the Kids Very Small Directions If Necessary

If you must say something to the kids while taking candid photos, keep your directions short and to the point. "Look over here for a second" or "Give me a big smile" are much better than "Look at the camera and say cheese!"

11. Make Sure That the Subject Faces Away from the Camera

The photo will look staged if everyone is looking at or facing the camera. Instead, have the kids interact with each other or their surroundings and take a shot when they're not looking.

12. Use a Camera with a Silent Shutter

If you're using a DSLR camera, set the shutter to silent mode so that you don't startle your subjects and ruin the moment.

13. Use Available Light

Whenever possible, use available light instead of flash. Flash can often produce harsh shadows and can be disruptive to kids and adults who are not used to having a bright light shining on their faces.

14. Capture Action and Movement

a girl's candid photo with Kate Valentine's day Backdrop Rose Manor Board Designed by Emetselch

Kate Valentine's day Backdrop Rose Manor Board Designed by Emetselch

Kids are in constant motion. To capture their energy and personality, try to take photos of them in action. This can be anything from playing on the playground to simply walking down the street.

Wedding Photography

Candid wedding photography is a genre of photography that involves capturing spontaneous moments during a wedding.

It is about capturing the little moments that happen throughout the day, from the bride getting ready with her bridesmaids to the groom seeing his bride for the first time, to the couple sharing a private moment during the reception.

These moments will truly capture the day's emotion and the couple's love.

15. Use a Longer Lens

Longer lenses enable one to zoom the subjects, making it easier to take close photos without getting too close. This is ideal for wedding candid shots as it will help you capture the natural expressions of the bride and groom as well as the guests without making them conscious of your presence.

wedding candid photo with Photo by Chiến Phạm on Unsplash

Photo by Chiến Phạm on Unsplash

16. Plan Ahead

Have a mental or physical list of all the key shots you want to get on the big day. This will ensure that you don't miss out on anything important and help you be more efficient with your time to get more candid shots.

17. Take Photos of People in Groups

Photographs of people in groups will make your work easier as you will not have to single out each person to take their photo. This is also a great way to capture people's interactions and expressions.

18. Frame Images

Use the environment to your advantage by framing your shots. This is done by using doorways, windows, or even tree branches. This will add depth and dimension to your photos.

19. Follow the Laughter

Candid shots are all about capturing natural moments and emotions. One of the best ways to do this is to follow the laughter. Laughter is often contagious, so if you see someone laughing, there's a good chance that others around them will be too.

20. Pay Attention to Body Language

Look out for people leaning in or out, those who have their arms crossed or fidgeting. These cues can help you capture a more candid picture meaning.

wedding candid photo with Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

21. Always Be Ready

Candid shots are often unplanned and spontaneous, so you need to be ready to take them at a moment's notice. This means having your camera on hand and being prepared to take the shot when the opportunity arises.


Capturing perfect candid photos is a great challenge for most photographers, especially beginners. However, following the above tips, you can be sure to get great candid shots that you will be proud of.

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