Candid shots - How to improve?

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I beginning to get hooked with taking candid shots. Just realized that emotions and expressions are priceless! Especially during Hari Raya, and taking picture of kids can be really fun. However I realized as candid need to be shot quickly to capture that precise moment, my pictures turned out to be either blur or lack good composition. Are there any tips on how I can improve on this? In terms of composition and techniques.

In order to get good pictures quickly, it seemed that I used the auto mode most of the time because to me if I use manual mode, I need to time to adjust my controls accordingly. And if I'm slow, I'll missed that excact moment. Am I doing the right thing? I felt guilty because that was not why I got the prosumer camera in the first place. I got it because I want to explore using the manual modes, controlling the shuter and aperture, but looks like I've not been using it :embrass: .


Senior Member
May 23, 2006
For a start, in moments of "expressive expressions" zoom in close and fill the frame with the face. Focus on the eyes. That solves most of the composition issues.

From there, develop your techniques by including the surroundings of your subjects.


New Member
Feb 4, 2007
for a start, u may use program mode, slowly u can proceed to aperture mode

for me, i use aperture mode in indoors when the lighting is more and less the same throughout

and if u got ur subject moving around in the outdoors, u may wan to try program mode.


Senior Member
Jul 8, 2007
Since I do not have any details on the lighting and the objects, my suggestion as follow:

1. Set ISO to 800-1600, which will help to increase shutter speed if it is in the low light condition. This will help to avoid the blur picture due to your handling.

2. Set the mode dial to P (program AE for Canon DSLR) which the DSLR auto set the shutter and aperture to a suitable selection. ie if 200mm, DSLR will increase the shutter speed and open up the aperture, if 70mm, DSLR will decrease the shutter speed and close up the aperture. This is with fixed ISO.

3. Set AF point to center only which your object should be. If your DSLR is 7/9 points, the DSLR will always focus the object which is close to your DSLR. Position your object in the center and shot.

4. If your object is constant moving in any direction, use AI Servo AF to let DSLR keep focusing on the object.

5. Read some photograpic books and study other photographer's photo to improve your skill.

6. Continue to take more photo and exam your photo detail on the PC in order to improve your skill next time.



New Member
Jul 2, 2007
candids are fun shots to take. here are some things i've learned from my experience.

1 - find a spot.
this is where you do your composing, look for a place, pre-compose your shots and then wait for your subjects

2 - timing.
you can miss the shot by being pressing the shutter too early or too late. so burst shoot.

3 - exposing.
when you find your spot and compose, look at what shutter speeds you're getting, if they're too low (i'd probably say you'd need something from 100-200 to stop movements and handshake) increase your iso. with that said, i usually shoot in ap. priority in the day and shutter when it gets darker

4 - framing.
dont zoom in too much on the subject, leave some room for "composing" in post processing

that's about all i can think of for now. but my best advice to you is to just go out there and do it. best way to learn

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