September 13, 2018
With the start of another school year upon us, we know there will be a whole bunch of new memories to be preserved on the yearbook pages. Great photographs can make all the difference between a ‘so-so’ book and a ‘Great’ book. Candid style photography is the best way to cover the events and activities at your school, but what exactly is “candid” photography. All too often what we see in yearbooks are page after page of people looking at the camera. Unfortunately, when the photographer says “smile for the camera”, whatever was happening at the time instantly stops, the story has now changed. When people are looking at the camera, it is a “portrait”. You already have a portrait section of your book so why not strive to make the rest of it more interesting with photos that tell stories?
Taking candid photos can be fun and exciting, and one of the most rewarding of all photos, but the downside is it can become annoying when the subject is aware of the camera. You will need to find a balance between getting in front of others to get a good camera angle and being ‘invisible’ to the subject. In reality, most often the subject will see you and when the camera is pointed their way they don’t act naturally. You need to make them feel at ease, tell them they look great and to keep doing what they were doing.
- Have your camera ready at all times. You never know when that next great candid shot will present itself.
- Take lots of photos, especially when multiple people are in the shot to ensure eyes are open and expressions are good. Digital photography makes it easy to take lots of pics without increasing costs.
- Position yourself strategically. When covering an event, think ahead and anticipate what is about to unfold in front of you. Find a place where you have a clear view of the action.
- Change up your Perspective – When your subject becomes nervous about being photographed, try shooting from the hip. It gives you a slightly different perspective to take the shot from (i.e., shooting from 3 feet height instead of 6). This adds to the candid nature of the shots. In fact, sometimes it’s the slightly crooked, slightly out of focus or poorly composed shots taken from this type of angle that ends up looking the best because they come across as entirely random. Of course, you can add all these new perspectives to your shots without shooting from the hip. Crouch down, get up high, frame your shots on an angle, zoom in close and then quickly zoom out to a wide angle, break the rules of composition, etc. and you will add a new perspective to your shots that can mean they look fresh and surprising.
A discussion of candid ‘street’ photography
Friesens Yearbook Consultant