Why Candid Photography Creates the Best Memories

candid photography session with young toddler girl in field with daisies

Giving a child something simple to play with, like a stick or flowers, will help them give you that “real” smile.

When it comes to photography of children, families, and couples, there’s a part of us that likes everyone looking at the camera and smiling. I think this traditional style of photo comes from days of film. When each shot was cost a lot of money to take and develop, you had to make sure everyone was looking their best. But whenever I present my clients with their photos after the session, it’s always the candid images they’re drawn to the most. Here’s why I much prefer candid photography for all of my sessions, and some tips on how to make these happen.

Preparing For a Candid Photography Session

Just because a photo is candid does not mean that it wasn’t carefully planned. The key to a successful candid photography session is directing my clients to do an activity. For my couples, I like to get them into a pose and then play a little game with each other, to help them forget about the camera. Activities that involve movement, like walking, spinning, or dancing, also make for great candid photos.

For family photos, I encourage the family members to talk to each other. Maybe there’s a secret pet peeve that comes up in conversation, or perhaps there’s one member in particular who’s always holding up the line to the bathroom in the morning. The more they talk to each other, the less they think about the camera, and the more natural the photos will be in the end.

Most of us are naturally camera shy, so I always lead couples into conversation to make them forget about the camera – at least for a little while.

Showing Children’s True Characters with Candid Photography

Sometimes the only way to get any kind of good photo from a child is to have them doing something they like. Many children when told to smile and sit still for the camera just end up frowning and crossing their arms. Or they’ll give a forced, fake smile only to hear a parent tell them “No, let’s see your nice smile”. But getting them to sing a tune, run around, play with their siblings, or get thrown in the air by a parent are great tactics for encouraging genuine reactions that allow their true personalities to shine through.

And that gets at the real reason why we generally like candid photos better: they aren’t just showing what we look like, but they’re revealing a glimmer of our personalities, and our relationships with each other. It’s those qualities that make the best memories, and it’s what I strive to create for every couples, family, and children’s session that I take on.

Getting kids to get busy with an activity, such as climbing a tree, is a sure way to promote candid expressions and make the session fun for them.

Of course, helping my clients have more candid photos isn’t the only important aspect of a perfect photography session. If you’re wondering what to wear for your family session, be sure to check out my other blog post here.

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