Back in January, I ran a photo workshop for a few girls I knew. I discovered I really love teaching and look forward to the days where I can do more of it. Until then I’m going to bless you all with a few tidbits of knowledge I’ve collected over the years.

I specialize in candid, documentary-style photography. That’s not to say I don’t “pose” my couples. I totally do but I approach it differently and mix in a healthy dose of simply observing and shooting them. So here are my top five tips for taking awesome candid photos.

1. Move your feet – this is a HUGE one. Do not stand still! You have to squat, run, walk, crawl, sit and climb stuff. Find new angles that will tell the story differently. 50 photos of a couple straight on will not make a good gallery. It also does nothing to tell a story. Get super close, shoot far away, get above them or below them. Shoot 360!

2. Open your eyes – this is super key. It gets exhausting constantly directing your couples, so give them clear space to be themselves. Act like you’re checking your settings and then take a sneaky peek and watch them relax. Then shoot it. Shoot them walking to and from locations, shoot them in the break moments. Those shots are going to be gold too.

3. Prompts over poses – the honest truth is you cannot do a good shoot expecting the couple to self direct. You’re the expert, that’s your job. But telling someone “stand like this, put your arm here, tilt your chin more”; not fun. So that’s where prompts come in! Get them moving, walking and interacting with one another. Things like run your fingers through her hair, or walk towards me swinging your arms and looking at me then each other. Those are going to give you way more natural-looking photos and be easier for your clients to complete.

4. Be Encouraging and vocal – If they look good, tell them! Make your people feel comfortable, encourage them when they do things right. Correct them nicely if they aren’t doing what you’re looking for and take the blame. The more comfortable they feel (thanks to your affirmation) the better your final product will look.

5. Be awkward – Your subject probably feels slightly awkward because chances are they aren’t professional models. So beat them to the punch, be more awkward or goofy if it’ll set them at ease. Let them know it’s normal and let them know you’re just as chill as they hoped you would be.

Well, those are my tips. If you liked them or found them helpful share them with someone else and send me a note at I’d love to hear from you. And like I said, I love teaching so hit me up with your questions. I’d love to answer some of them.