Candid Photography

What is candid photography? What does it mean? And what’s the significance of the word “candid”?

Generally I think when we say “candid”, we mean “unrehearsed, unposed, and ‘true/authentic’”.

But this isn’t quite a good way to think about it — because you can capture photos of unposed situations, which aren’t true and authentic!

Similarly, you can shoot posed photos of your loved ones which are authentic!

Thus in one sense, what we are seeking in our photos is some sense of “authenticity”.

But this is also a problem, because what makes a photo “authentic” or not?

When we say “authentic”— we mean to say “genuine“, which means in Latin genuinus (“innate, native, natural”).

Which means in photography, we are trying to capture the “innate/native” soul of someone.

Therefore, when it comes to photographing people, it doesn’t matter whether your photos are posed or unposed. It comes down to:

Does this photograph reveal the authentic soul of the person?

Of course there’s no ultimate truth or authenticity in photography. It’s up to your own interpretation! I try to photograph my love with Cindy as authentically as I see. But ultimately, my perspective is mine. Cindy obviously sees our relationship differently than I see it, and that’s okay! My duty as a photographer is to present my own perspective with others.

So friend as a practical takeaway, my idea is this:

Photograph whatever is personally meaningful to you, and do it as beautifully as you can. Then share this perspective with others.

That’s true authenticity as a photographer.


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