I receive questions about photography & about being photographed almost daily. I share some of my favourite questions on the blog, so that everyone can benefit from the answers.
Q: How do you get such intimate candid shots of people without spooking them? Everyone always seems so natural and relaxed in your photos.
Thanks for the question! These are my favourite kind of shots to take at a wedding, and I especially love them at the getting ready stage and later during the cocktail hour. There are so many lovely moments and authentic interactions to catch at these times.
There are couple of different approaches to taking candid photographs of people. First of all, let’s talk about the technical aspect of photographing these moments. Personally I tend to shoot fairly close up, with a 35mm or a 50mm lens, so I’m definitely in the moment with the people, and I mingle quite a bit with the guests when photographing the cocktail hour. However, I often get comments afterwards to the effect that no-one saw me the whole day, so they were surprised to get all the photos they did!
With my approach to candid photography the biggest factor is demeanour. If I were to act awkwardly people would be awkward in my pictures. When I approach people in a way that doesn’t make them feel like I’m doing something weird, they’re not spooked. I have been told that I come across quite calm, which can be a good addition to nervous situations, and helps with the intimacy.
My assistant generally shoots candids with a longer lens (often the 100mm), which lets her sneak shots from further away without people noticing. I myself have started using the 85mm a bit more as well, it’s sometimes nice to be able to catch moments from slightly further away. Obviously the different focal lengths create a visually different kind of feeling to each other as well, and the compression of a longer lens creates a lovely ‘social portrait’ look rather than making the viewer feel like they’re part of the action.
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