Why documentary photography will always be ‘my jam’, and how you can start taking candid photos of your family & friends.

Documentary photography is my first love. I used to love taking sneaky photos of my family and friends on my Canon 35mm SLR in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. What I love about this style of photography is that you have the opportunity to capture authentic human connection. Two friends sharing a story, guests laughing at the best man’s speech, a family sharing a moment. 

I love that when you take someone’s photo without them knowing, you really get to see and feel their true essence. For the camera-shy people of the world, it’s the best way to get real authentic images.

I would say that even now that I work with a little more planning and direction within my brand photography shoots or portraits, this documentary approach is still very much at the core of my images. I may set the scene or give a little direction to people but I’m still looking to capture the in between moments where their guard is down and their eyes light up.

My intention with all of my images is to show the light within us.

It’s beautiful to see, and even better for us to see of ourselves. The way that our close people see us – we deserve to see what that looks like.

So how can you start to be more sneaky with your photography? I actually think this is so much easier now that we all have camera phones. Some of my favourite personal photos are from my iPhone. When you’re sitting at home with your family or friends, simply open up the camera and don’t let them know. Children are likely to not notice, and they are the best subjects to get beautiful authentic smiles from. Even when taking a posed photo I NEVER ASK children to smile, because then you’ll likely get the gritted teeth grin. Just ask them some questions or be a bit silly and their faces with light up pretty easily. Even when you do have people’s attention, if you talk to them as you snap away you can create a more candid feel to your images, or you can take photos as they speak with someone else. This candid approach can make images feel more alive and authentic.