The Importance Of Candid Family Photos

Taking photos of your family is an important task. Kids grow so quickly and photos can be a treasured way of capturing their development and remembering events and occasions.

Many families like to opt for posed photos that are taken in a studio or will even arrange posed photo shoots on location, but posed photos aren’t always the best option.

The Importance of Candid Family Photos

Candid photos will allow you to truly capture your family (see also: The Best Settings For Capturing Candid Family Photos)in the moment. You don’t need to worry about fake smiles and awkward poses in candid family photos!

Candid family photos are important as they’re natural, fun, and can bring back great memories. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the importance of candid family photos and offer some tips to get the best photos possible.

What Are Candid Family Photos?

A candid photo is one taken without the subject of the photo posing for it.

In relation to family photos, this means that you don’t ask your family members to stop whatever they are doing so that they can face the camera and pose. Instead, you just take a photo while they are doing whatever they are doing.

These photos are often taken without the subject’s knowledge and permission.

Let’s look at an example of a candid photo versus a posed photo. Imagine your kids are running around in a park and playing a ball game. If you ask your kids to pause their game so that they can look at your camera, this is a posed photo.

However, if you take an “action” photo of your kids playing and don’t get their attention first, this is a candid photo. You will capture a photo of your kids playing naturally and they may not even know that the photo has been taken at all.

The photo might be a little messier with blurry movement and bad lighting, but it is a representation of how your family acts naturally.

Why Should I Take Candid Family Photos?

Now that we know what candid family photos (see also: Creating A Story With Candid Family Photos)are, let’s look at the benefits of taking candid family photos. As so much of photography is now digital there is no excuse for not snapping away whenever the opportunity arises!

Let’s look at why candid family photos are important.

Natural Smiles

Any smiles that you capture in a candid photo are going to be real and natural. They will be a true expression of joy that is sure to burst out of the photo and warm your heart whenever you look at the photo.

Posed photos can often have very stilted smiles. Some people are able to give warm and natural smiles in posed photos but this isn’t possible for everyone.

If you’ve ever had to pose for a photo for a few seconds you will probably know personally how difficult it can be to maintain a natural smile!

Young kids can especially find this difficult and if you have younger children, you probably already have lots of photos where your kid has a strange expression on their face because their fake smile became a little strange!

Candid photos can capture smiles at the moment they genuinely occur and when the subject isn’t conscious of their smile. This is a true reflection of the subject’s smile.

Fun Experience

Taking candid photos is more fun than taking posed photos for everyone involved, regardless of whether you are behind or in front of the camera.

Kids can get bored of being asked to pose for photos. This is especially the case if they are having a fun time or are exploring somewhere new.

They may have to pause their exploration or playtime in order to pose for a photo and they can soon tire of this.

By taking candid photos of them as they play and explore, you don’t need to interrupt them.

Some kids may even find getting snapped unaware to be fun. You can turn this into a game in its own right and challenge your kids to catch you taking photos of them.

See if they can spot the candid photos being taken more often than they miss them!

Taking candid photos can also be a fun experience for the person holding the camera.

Instead of being the person having to organize family members and find the best lighting and angles, you can live in the moment and take quick snapshots whenever you want to. This gives you more opportunity to join in the fun yourself!

Imperfections Are Encouraged

When you’re trying to take posed photos of your family, it’s easy to get preoccupied with making every photo perfect.

Photographers can waste minutes trying to find the perfect location with the perfect lighting to get that perfect posed photo.

This can also lead to trying to find the perfect poses and managing how your family members act in the photo.

In comparison, candid photography is quick and easy. You can get a photo in a second.

It may not have perfect lighting and the background may not be perfectly balanced, but instead, you will have a photo that is so full of life, energy, and natural emotions that those details won’t seem important anymore.

They Can Tell A Story

A great use of candid photography is to take a series of photos throughout a single day or activity.

For example, if your kids are spending a rainy day indoors on a craft activity, you can snap away as they work on their craft from beginning to end. This will then give you a beautiful series of photos that will tell the story of their craft activity!

A series of photos like this are perfect for a photo book or gallery wall in your home. You can use them to create a montage to hang on your wall or as a series of cards to send to friends and family for the holidays.

Better Memories

When we look at posed photos of ourselves, our focus is often on how we looked. We will look at our facial expressions, clothing, or hair, and try to find fault.

Posed photos don’t have as many memories attached to them because the photos don’t contain memories, only poses.

However, a candid photo makes us consider how we felt and what we were doing at the time of the photo.

This is especially true of candid photos that we never knew were taken! Instead of scrutinizing our smile, we will think about what was producing that natural and free smile.

Tips For Getting The Best Candid Family Photos

The Importance of Candid Family Photos

Getting a good quality candid family photo isn’t always easy. Kids are constantly moving around so getting a good candid photo of them can be difficult.

When taking candid photos you can’t always rely on the light or shade being your friend either, but there are some steps you can take to make your candid family photos as perfect as possible without ruining the candid effect.

You want your candid photos to look effortless and like they’ve just been taken in the moment and in the main, that’s how they should be taken. That doesn’t mean you can’t influence the moment a little though!

Let’s look at some tips to get the best candid photos.

Burst Mode

There is nothing more frustrating than missing that perfect shot by a fraction of a second.

How many times have you taken great photos of your family only to have one of them ruined by someone blinking? Even posed photos often take several tries to get right and candid photos are no different.

This is where burst mode can be your greatest friend. This will let you take a quick series of photos so that you won’t miss a single gesture or expression.

You can then look through the photos to pick the best one. We especially recommend burst mode if you’re trying to capture any kind of fast action!


Photography is like any other skill as practice makes perfect. This is true of taking candid photos as well.

Practice taking photos wherever you go, even if your family isn’t with you. This will help you to get a feel for locations and lighting and how they can affect your candid photos.

We especially recommend scouting out locations that your family might go to, such as the park.

If you practice in busy areas, it will also give you experience on how to frame your candid shots so that other people aren’t lurking in the background.

Candid shots are all about taking photos in the moment so you often don’t have the time to move around other people.

Be Unobtrusive

The idea of candid photography is to capture your subjects unaware. They should act naturally and not be conscious of the camera as that can affect their behavior and influence how they act.

This means that a good candid photographer should be able to blend in with the crowd and not be noticed by their subject.

This is often easier said than done when you’re taking candid photos of your own family as they will undoubtedly be aware that you are there!

However, you can try to take a step back and remove yourself from the action so that your presence doesn’t become distracting.

Try to keep the camera out of the line of sight of your family and don’t make any large movements that will draw their attention to you when you’re setting up your shot.

We highly recommend making good use of your camera’s zoom function and getting comfortable with it and its limitations.

Taking photos from a distance will be less obtrusive than taking them from close range so try to put space between yourself and your family when you’re taking candid photos.

Use Different Perspectives

One of the greatest things about candid photography is that it gives you more freedom when it comes to perspective. As your subjects won’t be staring directly into the camera you don’t need to face them head-on when you take the photos.

Look for interesting angles and don’t be afraid to get down on the floor if you need to! This is especially true when taking candid photos of your kids. Get down on their level and try to see the world from their perspective.

Look For Contrasts

If you want your candid photos to be as eye-catching as possible, then you need to consider contrasts. There are many different types of contrasts that work well in candid photography.

For example, consider snapping a candid photo of your child surrounded by nature or stark architecture. The mix of human and plant life or animate and inanimate will ensure you get an aesthetically pleasing photo.

You can also look for contrasts in color. Kids’ clothing is often very colorful so look for candid settings when they are surrounded by singular colors or monochrome schemes.

Set Up Situations

Candid photos are taken when the subject is unaware of the camera. They shouldn’t be posed and the photographer shouldn’t ask the subject to act for the camera. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t influence the setting of the photos (see also “The Best Settings For Childhood Photos“).

Think about places that will make for interesting photos. If you want to get some candid photos of your family, consider what backdrops would work and what would make the photos interesting for your kids.

For example, a day at a theme park or fair would be perfect for a candid shoot. There will be plenty of fun locations to take photos that are full of interesting colors and shapes.

Your kids will find plenty to occupy their time and they will be so busy having fun that they won’t notice your camera at all!

Final Thoughts

In this article, we explained the importance of candid family photos. We hope this helps you to take photos of your family!

Laura McNeill
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