Mini-Tutorial: How to take candid photographs.

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Whether it’s a surprise party for your husband or a tender moment shared between your child and his puppy, it’s easy enough to capture familiar experiences with a DSLR or a great point and shoot camera like the Ricoh GR, but what about taking photos of your local scene?

Street photography can be a tricky skill to add to any photographer’s repertoire even though it doesn’t require as much technical skill as, say sports photography.  Capturing that decisive moment with perfect timing is definitely a photographic skill though.

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Not only that, you also need to engage your audience and be endearing, so that they can relax around you while you take their photo. Most people don’t like their photographs taken by a stranger, so it’s best to be polite and smile and, if necessary, explain your purpose.

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A calm confidence is key in dealing with strangers; when you exude that certain friendliness with your chosen subject, then you won’t need to rely on luck. Equally as important is the patience to wait for a scene to develop in front of you and the ability to anticipate when to raise the camera to your eye and when to click the shutter.

For example, capturing that moment when someone wins the jackpot at a casino, or the lottery, can be very momentous. But a competent photographer needs to do more than just capture a moment, they also need to be able to tell a story within the image. So a good photo will make your audience wish that they could also see their lucky numbers at

Capturing that moment and portraying all the elements of a moment in a way that emotionally engages your audience is your main agenda. It helps to be unobtrusive and travel light, so you’ll need a handy DSLR like the Canon Rebel SL1 in order to avoid lugging around a heavy camera bag, especially if you’re somewhere like Barcelona or the streets of Bangkok and Bangalore, where theft is a constant nuisance.

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When it comes to taking photos, remember that including the background in your photo can help build an interesting story. Another handy tip is to kill the flash when you’re taking photos outside so that it won’t distract others (or conversely, attract the attention of your subject). In any case natural light is usually preferred by street photographers.

But don’t fall into the trap of hiding on the edges with a long lens: Having the confidence to approach people and asking their permission to take their photo is the right thing to do and can often result in much better photographs. People are subjects, not objects, and it’s important to treat people with respect; you don’t want to cause any trouble especially when you’re in a foreign land. And if there’s any language barrier, a simple smile and a few gestures can go a long way.


In the interests of transparency, I’d like to state that this is a sponsored post and the content is not mine. I do agree with everything that was said (although I wouldn’t generally link you to specific cameras).

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About theSubtleSensor

I am a freelance photographer based in newcastle upon Tyne and specialising in Corporate Events, Architectural and Model Portfolio photography. Please have a look around my website - I even provide links to other freelance professional Newcastle photographers.
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