Today’s post features eight helpful candid photography tips for capturing special moments with your family. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy here.
I realized something the other day: I haven’t really used my camera to take candid pictures of the kids and our family outings. I’ve been using my smartphone and posting our adventures on my Instagram Stories.
As much as I love using the Insta-Stories feature, the images and short videos I capture cannot be printed out for photo albums or saved for later. Also, there’s just something about capturing candid photos of those special family moments with your personal camera.
It’s sad, really, because Zephaniah is almost 11-months-old and most of his baby moments have been caught on a social media app. That kind of bugs me.
So last week, I pulled my camera out of the camera bag and put it in my tote. I like to bring a tote bag with me when we go places (even to the grocery store) just in case I need a change of clothes or to freshening up my makeup.
Having five kids has taught me to always be prepared. Yes, that means even if I need to change my clothes because one of my littles got food on my shirt or I sat in something weird. Believe me, it has happened!
I made this promise to myself to remember to bring the camera with me wherever we go and to snap more candid pictures of Travis and the kids. Get in those photos with everyone, too.
I think mothers are the least photographed people in families because we’re the ones always taking the pictures!
A few months ago, my dad and I were talking about photography. He told me he always takes his camera wherever he goes. “Why’s that?” I asked my dad. He said. “because you just never know when you’re going to need it.” You never know when there’s going to be a picture moment.
Last week, I had Michala and Zephaniah with me at Belle Isle. Zephaniah was fussy from being in the car seat (he hates the car seat). I took him out of his seat and told Michala we were going to just hang out at the river for a little while so he could get some fresh air.
It turned out to be a great idea. Once we started walking around the park and watching the boats sail by, he calmed down and was in a very happy mood.
I’m so happy I started using my camera again. If I would have just used my social media apps, then I wouldn’t have these perfect moments with my children.
One of those moments, Michala caught on camera Zephaniah standing up by himself. It was a very random moment. I wasn’t expecting him to do that. I keep forgetting it’s about that time— time for him to start taking his first steps. (Why can’t he stay little just a little longer?)
It was a very brief moment that probably lasted less than a minute, but it was a beautiful capture. And my reaction…LOL! How funny!
After all of the excitement of Zephaniah standing, it was time to feed the baby. I just sat under the tree and nursed him while the wind blew a gentle, cool breeze. Michala walked up to the river and took pictures of the boats going by. I love moments like that. Happy and spontaneous.
8 CANDID PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS
1. FOCUS ON CAPTURING YOUR SUBJECT IN ACTION. The best candid photographs are when you photography a person, group of people, or animals doing an activity.
Take a look at my candid picture of my husband Travis and daughter Zhen blowing out candles on a birthday cake. It was Travis’ birthday and Zhen wanted to help Daddy blow out his candles. So cute! And the next photo is one I caught of Elijah, Michala, and Zhen racing at our favorite ice cream/cider mill place.
2. PHOTOGRAPH YOUR SUBJECT SHOWING EMOTION. Candid pictures that show how a person is feeling can make an excellent photograph. You get to see what the person was feeling at that moment.
In the photograph below, I captured a moment of my son Zechariah mad at his dad for eating an ice cream cone. The funny thing is Travis was sharing with Zechariah, but Zechariah didn’t want to share it at all. Lol!
On a happier note, catching your subject in the middle of a good laugh also makes a great candid moment. The photo below is one I took of Michala laughing at something really funny. The lighting isn’t perfect, but that’s okay. The happy mood makes it a very memorable moment.
3. TAKE SEVERAL PHOTOS AT ONCE. In other words, you may want to put your camera setting on a continuous photo mode like burst or sports mode. This is when your camera will take several photographs very quickly. Many smartphones, like my Samsung S10+, also have this feature if you are using your cellphone for candid photography.
When you’re taking pictures of your child playing sports or even playing on the playground, it can be challenging to capture the perfect moment when he is moving around. Having your camera setting on a continuous mode for action can help you freeze the perfect picture.
4. PHOTOGRAPH REAL LIFE MOMENTS. Real life moments like enjoying food (see my photo below), kids playing with toys, mom nursing the baby, dad teaching the kids how to build a birdhouse are special moments that should definitely be photographed.
The key to capturing these real life moments is to hurry and snap the picture when you see it. Make sure your framing is good! Do your best not to interrupt the moment that’s taking place so you can document the event in the moment.
5. TRY DIFFERENT ANGLES. Get down on the floor for a low angle. Use a mirror for a unique shot. Take a photograph of your little ones playing from above. These are all just a few examples of different angles you can try when taking candid pictures of your family.
In the photo below, I had found Zhen making silly faces in the van mirror. So I aimed my camera at the mirror to take her photo. In the next photo, Zechariah was immersed in building a train station. I got down on the floor and took a photo of the toy bridge with Zechariah in the shadow of the window light.
6. PAY ATTENTION TO THE BACKGROUND. Sometimes you can have a great picture moment but ruin it if the background doesn’t go well with the shot. For instance, if someone is walking by at the moment you take the photo or you may be positioned in the wrong place for the image.
When you see a picture moment, also take a quick look at the background. Will it enrich your candid photo? Does it help tell the story of what’s going on in the picture?
7. CAPTURE THE SILLY MOMENTS. Here’s another great candid photography tip: take photos of your loved ones doing funny things. The silly times make for a great laugh when you look back on the pictures.
In the photos below, I took a photo of Zechariah wearing his daddy’s old arm hat trying to take a picture of plants at the Belle Isle Conservatory. You can’t tell in the photo, but he had the camera backwards. Haha!
And in the next photo, I captured a moment of my nephew eating a very big pizza. He said it was “Ginormous” and the biggest piece of pizza he ever had! 🙂
8. DOCUMENT THE CUTE MOMENTS. You can’t forget about the precious moments that make your heart skip a beat, like the first time your baby smiled at you or when you catch your kids giving each other a hug. These special times happen so quickly and make great candid photos.
In the candid pictures below, I snapped a photo of Zechariah when he was a baby when he was trying to reach for his sock. And in the next picture, I had just so happened to walk by and see Zhen standing on a chair combing her daddy’s hair.
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All photos are courtesy of Jennifer Hamra for Good Life Detroit.