Candid or Posed Portraits

Backlit candid kids portrait.

What is the difference between candid and posed portraits and can I do both?  First, a candid portrait is not a black and white image.  Candid portraits take almost twice as long as posed portraits because I am not in control of the subject.  I think it is important to note that just because I am shooting candid, does not mean I am not controlling certain aspects of the situation.  Location and light are still very important to every portrait.   The trick is to put the subject in a nice location and I will position myself between the subject and on the side quality light.  The last part is just waiting for the child to do something interesting and capture that moment.  Candids are great for very young children, shy children or active children.  Giving this type of child something to do helps them forget the uncomfortable situation they are in.  This is exactly why I don't charge for time when shooting portraits.   Sometimes this can take time!  Candid portraits can be both color and black and white.  Most of the time casual clothing, especially for boys it a better choice.  Lastly, if the parents are game playing in water or dirt is a fun choice.

Natural light Location, Environmental kids portrait.

Posed portraits are pretty self-explanatory.   I will control location, light and the subject.  How well a posed portrait turns out are based on a few factors.

  1. Location, Location, Location
  2. Light
  3. The Pose!

The pose really depends on how comfortable the subject is in front of the camera.  Note just because you are comfortable in front of the camera does not mean you can pose well.   Obviously, the more attitude you have the better but that has to be controlled by the photographer.  A photographer is looking at composition, image movement as well as your facial expression.  These need to be combined with light and location for a quality portrait.  Trust is important on posed portraits because sometimes you are standing in uncomfortable positions but they look good compositionally.

Looks Candid but is Posed

Sometimes a portrait can look candid but is actually a controlled posed portrait.  In this case, I was telling my subject what and when to do it.  I have example of both candid and posed in this Kids Gallery.

To answer my question above, you can always do some posed and some candid.  It usually works best to do the posed portraits first and candid second.  If you ever have any questions please feel free to contact me on the form below.

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Camp Hill, Pennsylvania
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