Are you a Portrait or Candid Person?

Mark, Mika and Beto, Four x Five Photo Fest 2018 - San Antonio, Texas

Mark, Mika and Beto, Four x Five Photo Fest 2018 – San Antonio, Texas

Do you like to shoot portraits or candids? There’s no right answer. And, your answer might say a lot about your psychological makeup.

There are all sorts of portraits, of course. Highly setup shoots — with specially built sets with models dressed and made up as though on a Hollywood set — are on one extreme. Then, on the opposite side are really candid portraits, which may be nothing more than snapshots.

For today’s discussion, I’m not referring to candid snapshot portraits. I’m talking about true candids that capture an event without the person knowing it, which is often the hallmark of Street Photography.

Mika in the Middle, Four x Five Photo Fest 2018 - San Antonio, Texas

Mika in the Middle, Four x Five Photo Fest 2018 – San Antonio, Texas

I have two examples for your consideration. I shot the bottom photograph first. Then, I struck up a conversation with the folks. Turned out that Mika and I met somewhere in the past, at some Austin photography event, most likely. I then created a rather casual, candid portrait of Mika, her husband Beto, and her friend Mark. Nothing much more than a snapshot, really.

I like the street photography style better. That’s what really makes me happy. Are you an Observer or Director? I definitely skew to the observer side.

Even when I create portraits, they tend to be casually done. I even prefer to use ambient light, rather than setup additional man-made lighting. I eschew formality and revel in the casual. Is it because I’m lazy? Perhaps. However, I once thought I would prefer a highly structured approach but surprised myself. In an art class, I gravitated towards the abstract rather than the highly precise perspective drawing.

So, my thesis. Your approach and the style of photography you like, may give key insights into your psychological makeup. I gravitate most towards found objects and candid street photography. While I can appreciate the effort and artistry of a tightly controlled portrait, it doesn’t quite stir my heart as a random, unplanned capture.


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3 thoughts on “Are you a Portrait or Candid Person?

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