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Candid or Not? It May Be Hard to Tell

People ask, "How do candid photographers get those great shots?"

Well, let's talk style. Say there's a continuum, and on one end you have documentary photography, where a truly candid photographer would join your family and capture images without giving any direction, like a fly on the wall. On the other end, there is posed photography, where the photographer is very concerned with the tilt of your head and the angle of your wrist, usually because of where the light is falling and they want to get EVERYTHING JUST RIGHT.

My job is to find the gentle balance between the two because I have found folks love a "candid" photograph without realizing how much direction and intention went into it. I carefully scout out a location before a shoot, planning for what lighting will be where at what time. I think carefully about how I want my subjects to interact, and I gently guide them into flattering positions and encourage them to express their love for each other during the portrait session. I absolutely want to capture the perfect image, probably even more than my clients do, but I also want them to enjoy themselves and the experience of being together.

Blah, blah, blah...enough words for now. Let's look at pretty pictures, shall we?

A candid moment between a mom and her toddler.

An image is worth a thousand words

But a thousand images

Lost in the cloud are worth….

well, nothing.

Family watches lake at Belmar Park in Lakewood, Colorado.

There are one thousand reasons to snap a picture,

but IT is the ONE photograph

scotch-taped to the fridge

that burrows into your heart and remains there forever.

Toddler swings between mom and dad in an open meadow in Lakewood, Colorado.

You can have a picture-perfect-moment

and a picture-perfect-smile,

But if your kiddo was close to miserable

at the click--

you’ll remember.

A child's candid delight as his dad cuts him a cattail to play with.
Curious, a child inspects a cattail.

Child pretends to jab his mom with a cattail.

A toddler's candid smile of delight.

Toddler with cattail in his mouth.

Toddler smiles into camera with cattail in his hand.

Hearts need love,

and eyes need beauty.

But our souls need to know they belong to one another.

Dad snuggles into toddler's neck.

The earth bends the sun’s light just right,

Just right.

And there--

We’ve got it!

That moment, forever.

Wall art example from family portrait session.
Holly is...very personable so we were right at ease. She even had some tricks to help our 2 year old have fun. Our photos turned out stunning and she captured our family perfectly. We couldn’t be happier!
Andrea Powell


Holly Freeman is not a candid photographer but loves a good candid-looking photograph. She specializes in family photography in Lakewood, Colorado. She digs the soft natural light of evenings, the texture of grasses and weeds that have gone to seed in the fall, and the squishy, soft cheeks of babies and toddlers. Reach out for a consultation about your own family portrait session; she can guide you through wardrobe questions, seasonal considerations, and how to use the images once you have them!


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