Everybody loves a candid photo, especially people who want their portraits to look natural and real. Candid photos are also great for when you want to look flawless but also without it being obvious that you're trying to look flawless. Does that sounds complicated? Because it is. In my work as a professional photographer, it took me awhile to figure out what people really want when they ask for candids. And believe me, all of my wedding photography clients want good candids.
Here's what couples are really asking when they interview wedding photographers about their candid skills:
1. Can you take photos of us where we're not looking at the camera?
2. Can you capture sneaky kisses and moments where we don't think anyone is watching?
3. Will you take photos of us with our wedding party where it doesn't look like we're at prom?
4. Are you able to capture the unique connection we have with each other and with our families and friends?
5. Please don't say "say cheese!"
Here are my answers to those questions:
1. Yes, of course. I would prefer that you look at the camera as little as possible. I consider myself the director of your photoshoot (and by extension sometimes the director of your wedding day because so much of it is a photoshoot) so I will tell you when to look at me. Otherwise, look at your partner. Look at your loving friends and family. Make eye contact with people, not with the camera.
2. See exhibit A, above. Also look at my favorite photos from wedding receptions. During portrait shoots, couples can do a great job of not looking at the camera and really connecting with each other, but ultimately they still know I'm there. During the reception, it's perfectly reasonable to forget that you have a photographer all together. Trust that I will capture significant moments between the two of you like it's my job. Because it is.
3 & 4. Yes! For group portraits, I will have everyone line up or get together and then I will let you talk and laugh with one another. The only posing your groups will do will be poses that you request or that they come up with themselves. This is the best way to capture the true spirit of the group. Of course there will be a couple of photos where everyone is lined up and looking at the camera because your mom wants you to have those photos. In that sense, it's a little like prom. But way more fun.
5. I won't tell you to say "cheese". I promise!