Candid 101: Capture perfect, timeless pics.

by Tonya Wright

What if I told you that most “candid” photos aren’t all that “candid”?  Mind blown? Buckle up and read on.

Okay, so what the hell does “candid” even mean?

First, let’s talk about what we mean by “candid” photography. When clients say they want their images to be candid, they really wish to capture the moment’s emotion, natural movement, and those little moments shared between people that often go unnoticed. Conversely, they don’t want photos that feel staged, posed, and devoid of joy — I’m looking at you, American Gothic.

The good news is, we can do that — but it requires planning and a photographer who knows how to create candid moments amidst the chaos of the big day.

Take this shot, for example.

It’s easy to think that the stars aligned, the world stopped, and the shutter button was pressed at the perfect moment. That is partially true, but there’s a lot left unseen. In this shot, someone (me) is holding the veil; the wind picked up just the right amount to gently lift it, and the bride and groom are relaxed and in the moment together.

Here’s the bottom line. The real “candid” photos you see (and want) have had some planning and thought put into them by the photographer to bring out and capture those authentic moments.

Build a solid relationship with your photographer.

Capturing genuine, candid moments relies on your relationship with your photographer. With a good relationship, your photographer will know what you’re looking for stylistically and what to do and say to prompt and capture the golden moments between you and your partner.

When I work with clients, I like to guide them through poses or give  prompts like “grab his butt” or “hold her hand and whisper something ridiculous in her ear.” At that moment, your partner stops and realizes he doesn’t know what they are going to say, and the both of you look at each other and giggle — that’s when the *magic* happens. 

PS: If you’re looking for more, see my blog post about finding the right photographer.

Tips for the big day.

Here are a few things to keep in mind amid the chaos.

Don’t be afraid to be intimate.

Let the PDA flow. It’s okay; I don’t mind PDA — I love it. That connection, the gentle touching of fingertips, the hand-holding, all the things you’d do on a date, gives your photos the extra oomph and emotion we want to capture.

Now, it’s easier said than done when you have a camera pointed at you, but seriously, enjoy the moment with your partner and think of your photographer as your favorite third wheel, that friend you can laugh with, flirt with your partner in front of, or get lost in the moment in front of.

Be ready to take some gentle direction.

Like we already covered, good photos require some planning and direction. So, be prepared to play along. This helps you feel comfortable and ensures we capture the perfect background, lighting, and everything else needed for a killer candid. That said, don’t hesitate to collaborate. Bring your ideas! If there’s a specific shot you want to capture and want to recreate, speak up. There are no bad ideas in this creative process!

Have fun and be you.

It goes without saying, but this is nobody’s day but your own. Have fun with it and be yourself. Laugh, cry, scream, do handstands, smoke a joint, whatever.

Are you looking for a candid photographer in the Portland, Oregon, area (or wherever you may be)?

If you’re in the market for a photographer in the Portland, Oregon, area, who can capture candid moments and want to explore the possibility of me being your photographer, drop me a line. I’d love to chat. You can also click around my website to learn more about me, view my pricing, or view a few sample galleries.

Meet the Author

Tonya Wright is a wedding and elopement photographer based in the greater Portland Oregon area – and wherever her passion for photography takes her.

Her photography focuses on authenticity and genuine emotion, steering clear of clichés and awkward poses. To her, when you’re grooving in your comfort zone, with the people you love, doing what you love, everything clicks.

You can follow Tonya on Instagram at @nestandlove