Tokyo Family Photographer | Tips On Taking Candid Photos

A dear photographer friend of mine of Izzie Rae Photography (http://izzieraephotography often talks about photographing just for herself. No client expectations. No rules. Just shooting and practicing and experimenting, just for fun. She raves about how it is good for the soul and the creative spirit. Why have I never thought of this before?

So I took her advice and asked the Kantz family to model for me.  The focus was a relaxed session where I could play and have complete freedom to shoot in new ways if I wanted too. I just wanted total freedom.

I went into this session with a few specific goals in mind. Here were my goals:

  1. To underexpose the images a bit to get a more moody feel. (The stormy weather was the perfect condition for this actually.)

2. To get a good mixed of both posed and candid portraits. ( I am a portrait photographer. That’s what I do best. But I want to be able to incorporate more lifestyle shots when photographing families.)

3. To direct the family well in order to produce images that feel relaxed and natural.

I wanted to capture moments as they happened and help the family arrive at those moments. I don’t know about you, but as soon as a photographer says to me “Oh, just act natural,” I freeze up in front of the camera. There is nothing natural about that. So how do we photographers achieve that natural, candid look for our clients? I believe we must actively direct, pose,coach, and encourage clients during a session to help facilitate the natural look we want to achieve.

For this photo shoot I directed and coached the family so the end result would be relaxed images that looked natural while still making my clients look their best. Most of these images below start with me giving some instruction about how to stand or what to do. Once the position looked the way I wanted I then coached the family members to do things that help facilitate moments and get that natural, lifestyle feel.  Here are a few things I tell clients to try and  achieve that look:

– “Don’t look at me. Look at each other.”

– “Doesn’t mommy look pretty?”

-“Give daddy a snuggle.”

-“Don’t smile. Don’t you do it.”

-“Tell her something you love about her. But whisper it in her ear.”

Along with that I encourage lots of movement. I personally love what movement adds to a photo.

I have found that a little coaching and direction goes a long way in photography. We can’t just show up with a fancy camera and expect magical moments to randomly happen. We have to be willing to work with and help our clients feel comfortable in front of the camera. If they feel comfortable and know that you are going to direct and guide them during a shoot then they are more free to just enjoy their family. And THAT yields more natural, candid photos. The more we guide them the easier it is to get the look and feel we want from the photos. It seems counterintuitive, but it works for me.

So that my friends is what I did during this session to get candid portraits and capture natural moments.

Again, this shoot was really just for me. Even though I have been in business for over six years I still love learning how to do this better. I learn a little bit every time I shoot. So keep shooting and take time to do a creative shoot just for you!

A big thanks to the Kantz family for doing this shoot! You guys are fabulous!

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