This week’s challenge is my favourite: capture a candid relationship. This can be a relationship between people or animals. If you don’t normally photograph people, now’s a good time to give it a shot. Or you can use a timer and try to capture yourself interacting with another person or pet.
Here are some tips on capturing candid relationships:
- I’ll often start a documentary session by chatting with my subjects so they get comfortable with me and then slowly fade into the background as they go about their day. During events like weddings, it’s a bit easier as people just naturally get used to having a photographer around. If you’re photographing people you live with or have a relationship with, just tell them you’ll be taking some candid photos here and there and to try not to pay attention to it.
- It doesn’t have to be completely candid. You can set up a scenario or let people set up their own, while fully aware that you’re there to take photos, and then let them interact in that situation. All of the non-wedding photos above were pretty much taken in this way. They planned some things to do during the shoot, which makes it not purely documentary, but I didn’t give them any direction while they did those things, so the relationships captured were still candid.
- If people are uncomfortable, I usually tell them I’ll throw away the unflattering photos. You can also take a little break and interact with them more before taking additional photos. If they really object and you’re just taking photos for fun, find some different subjects.
- Timing is important. If something obvious is happening, like people about to cut the cake or do a first dance at a wedding, I try to take some photos as I anticipate the moment to get my exposure and composition right, then photograph the moment, and keep taking photos to capture the reactions. You can find out more about this topic in my free ebook.
- Take more than one photo. I always take at least two photos when photographing people and even more when taking candids where expressions and movements are changing. I have had second photographers at weddings take one candid of a guest and had to throw it away because their eyes were closed or they sneezed or something. You never know what could happen in the 1/250th of a second (give or take fractions of a second) it takes to capture a photo.
- Try not to be too obvious. I don’t use flash for candids unless I’m at a wedding where there’s a lot of things to distract them from my flash firing. If your camera beeps when you take a photo, disable that in the menu. Also, if it has a quiet shutter mode, use it.
If you have any questions, join us in the Facebook group. I’ll be checking in there daily to see your work and help you achieve the best results.
If you’re just finding this now, you can check out the full list and more information on the challenge here. You can follow me on Instagram at @documentyourdaytoday and use the hashtag #documentyour2021.