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Candid vs Traditional – Are They Really That Different?

Candid vs Traditional – Are They Really That Different?

There is a trend in wedding photography that is spilling into the corporate photography marketing world. “Candid photography” (a.k.a – photojournalistic photography) is a hot trend.  Companies like the idea of presenting their employees, clients, services, etc. in their natural environment without seeming contrived. Candid photos can help them connect with their community.

Natural = honesty = trustworthy.

We get it. But is it right for you?

What are traditional marketing images?

Traditional marketing images are like the images you’d see on billboards or in magazine ads. A terrible (but memorable) example is a photo of a woman smiling eating a salad for a diet company. Everyone laughs at the Viagra ads because they aren’t real. They are trying to sell an idea to you that doesn’t seem authentic.

Traditional marketing images don’t have to be phony. This photography style focuses on balanced lighting, natural posing, and precise actions. Look at this image below:

Fed Choice

We have a bank teller helping a patron. It is clear and concise. Yes, it is clearly staged, but the professionalism that this image conveys confirms a clear message.

Traditional and Candid photography go hand in hand.

Photojournalism was born out of traditional photography. Excellent photojournalism requires a plan and thought prior to the shoot. No one can ever expect a photographer to walk into an environment, start shooting and get fantastic images frame after frame.

Candid photos in marketing are never truly candid. It sounds like an oxymoron, but it is a fact.

Companies don’t have the time or resources to waste as though it is event coverage. They have to approach it with a clear purpose and plan that maximizes their ROI.

A photographer should observe how the people interact, and then give direction to ensure that the moment looks right through the lens. This results in photos that appear genuine and un-staged, but are still technically correct.




These images show professionals at work with real expressions and real environments. These images were directed. We watched how people move at their desks and asked them to reenact that action for the camera perspective.

Our goal is not to create a false action. Our goal is to eliminate closed eyes, poor posture, and wild hand movements. People are naturally expressive, but they usually need a little coaching to make the desired effect in a marketing photo.

We love the idea of capturing raw moments to create a marketing impact. Keep in mind that the beloved aspects in candid photos of family or weddings are moments that don’t always translate well to a general audience. For effective candid photography, remember these tips:

– Have a plan or theme prior to the shoot.

– Hire a photographer that understands the traditional aspects of marketing photography (even if you don’t want that, you’ll appreciate the skill set).

– Embrace the coaching. It won’t make a photo look “fake”. It will ensure the realness.