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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

{photography with lei} candid shots

Did you know that there is a whole photography art form out there known as lifestyle photography? It's fascinating. Lifestyle photography is all about capturing the moment. Like in photojournalism, it's not posed. It's not planned. And to us moms, it's priceless to catch our kids and families in this natural element, doing the things they do, in the way only they do them. These are the pictures we will go back to years and years down the road. They are simple, but they are so real.

Often, though, as soon as we go get the camera, our kids stop "performing" the cute little tasks we desperately want to remember. And we're yelling from the closet as we frantically feel around for the camera bag - WAIT, WAIT, please don't move!

The trick to candid photography, first of all, is to realize that's just what it is. CANDID. Meaning, it can't be planned. It either happens or it doesn't. You can't "force" a candid moment, can you?
Luckily though, they are in abundance. So if you miss this one - hey, it's ok. You will catch the next one. Just remember that sometimes savoring the moment is just as important as capturing it!
That's not to say that there are no tricks to getting those great candid shots. If you are looking for those moments, you can find them at any given time. My advice is to just be ready. If you decide tomorrow that you want to get some great candid shots, then keep your camera within reach all day long. And take as many pictures as you can. I never wait for the perfect shot to happen - I anticipate it. And sometimes I just shoot anyway. And later realize I've gotten something really precious.

You might even want to "set the stage" so to speak. Get out the paints or something that's sure to churn up some sweet shots.

{for this session I just laid out a quilt and gave the kids books to read}

But there is something to be said for having a good eye. You've got to learn how to look for and recognize those special moments that happen on their own. It's easy to fall into the trap of trying to make each shot perfect. And that is what gets in the way of a truly candid moment. Don't worry about the messy face, or what they're wearing, or the toys all over the floor. Don't try and make them smile or look at the camera or heaven forbid, say cheese. Just go with it. Let go. You'll appreciate it more later!
Here are some of my favorite candid shots!

Some were part of sessions. I love to catch people off guard with a joke or two, such as in the above photo.

This one of the little girl walking a dog was taken on my way back to my car after the session had completely ended. But I think it's my favorite of all the pictures I took that day. I especially love the low angle of the shot. To make yours look more candid, try some unconventional angles.

Here's a silly moment that was captured while playing with a giant Christmas ornament.

My 4 year old hardly knew I was there to take the pictures above and below. If you truly want that fly-on-the-wall view, then hide inside a doorway like I did below.

To get this shot of the 2 children walking away - I seized a completely unplanned moment and literally had to run to catch up to them before the moment was gone. It was worth a little sweat!

These last 3 are of my brother's family - one really tender moment with his son at the top, and then two of the birth of his daughter Sophia, which happened just 2 days ago. What precious moments that they will be able to remember now forever and ever.

You might also find yourself wanting to get some great "people" shots. Such as at a party or something festive (I know how you crafters love to entertain!). In those situations it is really important to be seen and not heard. Fade into the background. Don't make yourself "known".

Of course, if there is a good moment to interact, then do it! {Hi, Aunt Cindy!}

And it's always a good idea to look for important points of interest so that your images don't look blah. In the image above Dad had just put his arm around his daughter.

And a tilt of the camera makes this image from my daughter's birthday party more whimsical and fun!

Get out and start capturing those rare moments! Trust your instincts... especially with your own family! After all, who knows them better than you?

Next month I'll be taking your questions and answering them LIVE. Lol.

You can email me at! Thank you!

I have some great news for you today! Lei is now going to be here twice a month, which I am so excited about.

Stay tuned--she will be back in two weeks for her question & answer session. In the meantime, head on over to her Facebook page for even more of Lei and her fantastic photography!



Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow such beautiful photos,, I'm one that really needs a photograpy course,, I can paint a picture but can't take a photo to save my life.I love coming here evryday to see your beautiful shots,, thankyou for sharing,,

May 4, 2011 at 7:41 AM  
Blogger Shirley said...

I love every single photo! I think that candid shots are so much more "real life" than posed and they depict so much more emotion.

May 4, 2011 at 9:50 AM  
Blogger Evelyn Campbell Curtis said...

This is fantastic! Your last post helped me out SOOO much! We didn't have money for a professional to take our family photos, and we hadn't had a family picture taken for 6 years! Yipes! I had been praying that we could somehow figure it out.

We got a new Kodak Slice in January. It is a really nice camera. A few weeks ago, right after church, I took my family to an old cement building that had partially fallen down. I set up the tripod, and began shooting. I used the timer for photos including myself, and got great shots of all of my kids! They turned out great thanks to your tips last time! So I can't wait to try out these tips. I feel great about it, because I typically am not a great photographer!

May 4, 2011 at 10:47 AM  
Blogger nicole. said...

those photos are beautiful. every single one of them.

May 4, 2011 at 11:02 AM  
Blogger The Allen Family said...

Thanks so much for this. What great ideas and tips. I totally need all this and now I just need to practice. :)

May 4, 2011 at 11:09 AM  
Blogger Holly said...

Great tips and beautiful pictures!

May 4, 2011 at 11:50 AM  
Blogger The Powells said...

Thanks for the post from Leilani! Love it!!!

May 4, 2011 at 12:01 PM  
Blogger The Duckworth Family said...

These are great, I really do love candids! My problem is I need a new lens that allows me to be closer to my subject. Half the time the greatest picture opps are when my kids are right there next to me and my 50-200mm lens doesn't really comply with that! Thanks for sharing your wisdom again!

May 6, 2011 at 7:06 PM  

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