For Family + Children Photography
When most people hear, "candid photo" they're probably thinking of something that is spontaneous, unplanned, a session with out structure. But that's not necessarily true. A real candid photo is about allowing enough time, freedom, and creating an opportunity where a true expression can occur. Candids can be challenging for the camera, (kids are always on the move!) but some of the best photos happen in a blink. Candid photos have the ability to capture an entire feeling.
One of the best ways for something candid to happen is through play or by incorporating a point of your child's interests into the session. Do they like bugs, fish, birds, and other wildlife? Are they super active and love the swings? Think about what environment will lend itself best to these interests. Is there a toy they just absolutely love? Are they mad for bubbles? Or are they a little artist and chalk is their medium? All of these elements will not only engage your child in the session but will also let them have fun and a little freedom to feel comfortable being silly and smiley in front of the camera. It takes a bit of time to get good candid photos, they're just not something that can be rushed. By having an activity for your child, they can participate longer. Think of it like a prompt and it can be as elaborate as playing a game or as simple as trying on mom's sunglasses or picking a flower.
This approach is particularly good for children who are on the move with no interest in slowing down. I had a mom ask me recently, "How do you get a picture with a two year old?" It can be challenging! I have found it is best to meet them where they are, often quite literally. If a kid is on the move, then we're all on the move! Sometimes we'll take photos walking. Sometimes we'll have a "race" or I'll ask to see their dance moves. Are they good at jumping!? And we'll all look silly jumping up and down but the kid will smile and I can usually hit the shutter just as they land. Over the years, I've gotten quite fast with the shutter, but still some photos are out of focus. Sometimes kids are doing something really cute for just a split second in the harshest light. You live with it. It's a candid photo. I take the photo anyway because the "mistake" doesn't always look that way. An image a little soft, or with not so perfect light can still show a sweet moment or a smiling face.
Don't get me wrong, I love a posed, well composed portrait. In fact, in asking for a posed shot I'll often get a little candid moment when a crazy face is made, or some sibling is squeezed just a little too tightly, but there is something to be said for giving enough time to your session for something candid to happen. Time is key to letting personalities come through in the photos and the time you spend for your session can be a lot of fun. That time can be something that encapsulates many other similar moments away from the camera. Ultimately, we have photos taken to remember a feeling of a time, of a season, or of a year and taking a little time to get a few candid photos is the best way to do it.