Tips to a Great Photo, Part 4 | Posing vs. Candid

March 30, 2011

Now that you’ve got the whole lighting situation taken care of and most of the photos you’re taking now are pretty good, the rest of the tips I’m going to give you (with the exception of the very last one) are less important than the previous ones.  This post won’t be too long, since there’s not really a ton I can tell you about this topic–it really is more a matter of preference and exploration and something that you’ll have to ponder and practice for yourself–I just wanted to bring this matter to your attention.

Posing vs. Candid: In case you’re not sure (I want to make sure we’re all on the same page here), posed shots refer to those in which you have placed your subjects in a certain position and they are usually looking at the camera and smiling.

Candid shots are those where people are just living.

Now, you can actually pose candid shots, too.  (We’ll call these “fake candid” shots.)  If your subjects are good enough actors you can tell them, “just live,” or, “laugh at each other like you’re just living.”  These make for pretty cute shots, sometimes.

on the left, a posed photo. In contrast, on the right, a candid one.

Remember, the type of photo you don’t like taking actually does exist and let me challenge you to step out of your comfort zone.  You see, most people either really like taking posed photos or really like taking candid shots.  I much prefer posed (or fake candid) photos–I just don’t seem to be able to catch people living very well.  This is something I’m currently practicing (although it’s quite difficult because when people see a camera they really just want to stare at it and smile–some people seem to have a camera radar)!

Whichever you prefer, posed or candid, it doesn’t really matter–you can always get better at each.  So look through your photos–do you tend to take one particular type of photo?  Are your candid photos better than your posed photos?  or vice versa?  Work on getting better at taking both types of photos!  Practice is really the best way to get better at taking candid photos.  Checking out other photographer’s blogs (and seeing how they pose people) has proven very valuable to me in getting better at posed shots.

I hope this was helpful to think through!  Join me next week as we look at composition.


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