I tried living the ‘Candid’ life for a week

It’s a lot more effort than it looks

We’ve all seen the candid photos plastered all over Instagram. I have friends who have truly mastered the art of the ‘candid’ photo, candid of course being used in the loosest sense of the word, but I just never really got it. I’ll admit I’ve tried before now, but I just end up laughing and pulling a weird face because I feel really uncomfortable when pretending to look natural. It’s a lot harder than it looks.

Smiling into my food like a normal human.

I have many questions to ask about candid photos, most importantly, who takes the photos? Most of the time when I figured something would make a great candid photo, I was either on my own or my friends were busy working so I didn’t want to disturb them just to take a photo of me. Do these candid pros of Instagram just have a personal photographer to follow them around looking for any potential photo opportunity?

Trying to take candid photos of in the middle of London, I just felt like a massive bellend. Stood in the middle of the street I was getting in everyone’s way, just to get the perfect shot of me pretending not to notice that my photo was being taken. Apologies to the people who had to walk round me, I hated me too. Sitting in a restaurant and smiling down at a plate of food, I just felt like a right numpty. They’re just so obviously fake, set up photos. I don’t get it. Just look at the camera and smile if you’re having your photo taken.

oh, you caught me staring to where I belong. I had no idea.

Most of my photos for this experiment ended up being taken when I was drunk because then,

1. My friends didn’t mind taking a million photos of me to get the perfect one, as they were also too drunk to care

2. I felt a lot less embarrassed about people seeing me pose for a clearly fake photo.

Honestly, this is how I always look.

The other issue about getting the perfect candid is having to look nice all the time. I don’t know about you, but when I’m sat working at my desk, I’m in pyjamas and dressing gown, not a full face of make up and a party outfit. This is another reason many of the photos are from pre-drinks, because those are the rare times in the week that I bother to make an effort to look nice. I wasn’t going to make an effort every day just in case I fancied a candid photo. I wasn’t that desperate to find out what the candid life is all about.

The setting of the photo is also pretty important. The amount of times I had to quickly shove my clothes or books out of the photo to make it look nice was ridiculous. Maybe this is more of a hint that I should tidy my room, though.

Funnily enough, this isn’t how I usually read for my dissertation.

I tried the classic poses, the ‘lean on the wall’, the ‘looking lovingly at your food’ and ‘the stare off into the distance’, but it just felt really odd and forced. No one in their life has ever leant on a wall just for kicks and then someone has just happened to capture a photo of it. The same goes for bath candids. I’ve seen these many times: with the perfect face of make up, glass of white wine, just the right amount of bubbles to cover your modesty, the perfect bathroom setting and a nice candid to go with it. Personally, I don’t wear make up in the bath, as seems a bit counter productive. Although I tried, I didn’t manage to get a ‘candid’ bath picture as my friends definitely weren’t jumping at the opportunity to spend bathtime with me taking my photo.

You know when you’re walking home from CIYS, all you want to do is naturally lean on a wall, that.

All in all, trying to live my life through candid photography proved to be much harder and much more effort than I’d ever thought or intended. Considering they’re meant to look natural, the poses don’t half take a lot of thinking through. If I tried to actually look natural, I looked like a miserable Quasimodo and if I tried to do the natural smile, I looked like I was having a stroke. Fair play to those who have mastered the art of the candid photo, but after this week I can firmly tell you that the candid life is not the life for me.