How do you capture candid street photos?

(Ram Ya) #1

I am inspired by amazing candid street photography work but I am always worried that someone will notice I am taking their photo without telling them.

I have tried shooting from my hip but I find it is impossible to compose with this method. Do you have any tips that worked for you? Has anyone caught you while shooting and made a scene?

Update: Thomas Leuthard’s free e-book Link

(Manan) #2

Hi Ram,

I joined the PhotoBlog Community today and first thing I searched for was Candid street photography and it landed me here.

I like doing candid street photography and have been doing it for the past two years.

I found a great candid street photographer named ‘Thomas Leuthard’ at His work is very inspiring. I’m sharing a link to number of free ebooks Thomas has written about candid street photography. These books really helped me a lot in my initial endeavors.

There are videos available as well where we can see the genius himself at work…

All I can say is that a good candid shot becomes the best one if the shooter had a little more guts…:grin:

But I always use a camera that has a DELETE option…:stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: just in case you know…

I’m sharing my Photoblog and Flickr link below, in case you are interested in having a look:

Hope this helps.

Take care.

(Toastervan) #3

Defiantly a challenge today in the knowing that everyone is watching or is going to be watching… The best alternative is to actually hire someone who’s willing to portray the role and allow images taken by you. Granted I’m not suggesting that your person/subject be nude in a public street… but if they know your there most could shy away or in my case cover their faces.

(Jay Boggess) #4

Good idea to have an accomplice, engaged in the situation or doing something which may attract the attention of the passers by, away the camera man, thus yielding more freedom to record the candid behavior, rather than shooting folks who are just aping for the camera or becoming irate…right?

(Toastervan) #5

I mean, if you hire someone to do what it is your looking for without actually watching you take the images… this would present a false appearance, but still could fool the eye. Just as long as the said hired person doesn’t look in your direction, plus this would mean a portfolio for the hire help. But undoubtedly you will tract attention IF you act strangely in trying to achieve a prescriptive. Even I attracted several when taking a photo of a women who asked me to take her picture… the issue was, she wanted me to use her camera. Which I wasn’t willing to do… Upon the photo shot… people started gathering… They started staring… even the lady who asked me to take her picture wanted to watch me… but I simply told her to act natural and never look directly into the camera… Look off into the distance or within your minds eye. Sort of like daydreaming.

(Jay Boggess) #6

Have you seen those lenses that look like they are pointed in a different direction than they are actually seeing? Might be a good way to stay in cognito…(((grin))) Recording truly candid scenes seems to always require a certain amount of “deception” or “spying”…((grin))
It’s especially “dicey” in some neighborhoods…right?

(Toastervan) #7

Think this is why I suggested hired help to model or pose… Not long again I was walking home when I spotted some late blooming flowers in a fellows yard… just be chance he seen me take a picture of the flowers and came running out asking why was I taking pictures of him/his house what ever… So having hired help would eliminate this type of questionable occurrences. Voyeurism is not my forte…

(Jay Boggess) #8

I’m sorry, I don’t understand what the “hired help” would actually do, to facilitate the ability to capture more street photos that are truly “candid”, of people going about their business…unaware and not performing for the camera…

(Kenny H) #9

A great amount of my shots are street photos, some with people some, not. When I do get a good subject and they’re close to me, I try to point in their direction and squeeze of as many as I can, with the camera or really REALLY good smart phone on silent. Should they catch me pointing in their direction, I usually ask then to move over as if they’re in my shot by accident:
“Do you mind sliding over a bit?” Then focus on something really random. If I can’t help but let them see, then I usually ask for permission.

(Ram Ya) #10

@manansatsangi Thanks for the links to Thomas Leuthard work.
That guy’s impression at the end is priceless :smile: :smile:

@northamericanroads I think a hired model would be ok but I think it would be hard to replicate the natural environment. For example, there is a certain look and feel to a man or women working behind a street food stall. That could be hard to replicate by a hired help.

@popparatzee This is a good tip. I will add this to my arsenal of excuses to be used when I get caught next time. Thanks.

By the way, this is the one I shot from my hip. Not too bad eh?

Full post here

(Kenny H) #11

I like this! With her clothing, it almost has a 60’S feel to it. Good stuff!

(Toastervan) #12

I guess there are those situations where a candid photo might be acceptable. However in this day and age it’s going to be very hard to actually achieve a candid photo without someone’s permission… I’d hate to have them notice that you’re taking their picture only to have your face smashed in because those you took pictures of wanted to keep these things private. So respect others privacy.

(Ram Ya) #13

“reasonable expectation of privacy.” can certainly get little tricky.
A good read on this if anyone is interested

(Jay Boggess) #14

Thanks for the link outlining the rules about capturing images of people in public areas. Very good to know the boundaries! Thanks, Ram!

(Emilia) #15

Mostly? I’m pretending that I’m a tourist: camera, backpack, comfortable clothes and a puzzled look as if I was here for the first time :wink: Often I pretend that I’m only interested to photograph architecture of the old town (I take street shots most often in the center of Stockholm) and it works - people don’t pay attention on me.
Things I’ve tried: ninja shots from the hip - lot of crappy snaps but sometimes also interesting captures (I like the unpredictability of this method).
Things I want to try: controlling the camera using my smartphone.

(Jay Boggess) #16

I saw a “gizmo” in a photo magazine that you use like a lens hood that makes it look like your camera is pointed 90 degrees away from what you actually see in the viewfinder. If I can find the ad again, I’ll post it. Pretty kool tool for street shooters! Does anyone else on here know of what I speak???

(Ram Ya) #17

That would be a cool gadget to have!
No, never seen it.

(Ram Ya) #18

@manansatsangi that ebook link is brilliant. I started reading his book, I like his style.

Thanks for sharing this. Kuddos to the writer for making it available for free :slight_smile:

(Manan) #19

Yeah, this clearly indicates that he does it to contribute to this style of photography in his own way.

You don’t really see a lot of experts sharing their experience as crisply as he does in his books.

I think PB is a great platform to gain knowledge through others’ experiences…!!! Glad that the link helped…!!!

(Kenny H) #20

Just read the ebook. This guy took some really gutsy shots. I do some daring stuff, but mine usually don’t turn out like his! Great article, great work.