Candid photography is opposite to the stalking involved in animal photography, sports photography or photographic journalistic intrusion, which all have a focus on getting distant objects photographed, e.g. by using telephoto lenses. Candid photography's setup includes a photographer who is there with the "subjects" to be photographed, close, and not hidden. People photographed on candid shots either ignore or accept the close presence of the photographer's camera without posing.
The events documented are often private, they involve people in close relation to something they do, or they involve people's relation to each other. Candids are the kinds of pictures taken at children's birthday parties and on Christmas morning, opening the presents; the pictures a wedding photographer takes at the reception, of people dancing, eating, and socializing with other guests.
It could be argued that candid photography is the purest form of photojournalism. There is a fine line between photojournalism and candid photography, a line that was blurred by photographers such as Bresson and Weegee. Photojournalism often sets out to tell a story in images, whereas candid photography simply captures people living an event.
Candid photography, unless performed digitally, requires sensitive film, as flash lights can cause cameras to stop from being an immersed part of a meeting or party, causing people to stage their photo appearance rather than behaving naturally. For this reason, candid photography often takes place outdoors, where the sun provides the light. Due to higher film speeds being required for inside photography or dark photography without flashlight, candid photography can feature grainy, high contrast images.
As small point and shoot cameras with affordable lenses are used widely for candid photography, photographs may feature vignetting and oversaturation of colours. Due to short reaction times, lighting or focus may be off. Due to flashlight being obstructive to candid photography, pictures may show glary overexposure, underexposure, color shifts or blurring. All these are usually accepted as features of candid photography.
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