Terminology, What's The Difference...


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Jan 2, 2007
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...to you between snapshots and candids?
not much if any.

both suggest causal images taken on-the-fly.

but, id only use the term candid when referring to people--it suggests photos of people taken "without their knowledge".

I might walk outside and take a quick snapshot of my car, but i wont take a candid photo of it.

I might walk outside, see my neighbor in brilliant morning glow, yell over and say "hey i wanna take your picture, hold on while i get my camera, act naturally," run inside, grab my camera, and then take a candid photo of my neighbor working his lawn. It doesn't necessarily have to be a snapshot if thought went into it--like framing and lighting and other things to try to make it more than just a PnS photo.
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Good answer.
A snapshot is a snapshot.

A candid can be a snapshot but it can also be much, much more.
Here's what I've learned over the years: A candid is a photo made without strict, rigid posing, and it represents reality. It is candid-the word candid meaning honest, truthful,frank. If you tell a person you want to make a "candid portrait" of them as they work on their motorcycle, you will be shooting photos of what they do, naturally and of their own accord, but not directing every minute detail of their actions. Candid doesn't mean without knowledge of the photographer being there necessarily--it means "frank and honest". The wikipedia definition is the old, actual definition of candid photography; most dictionaries confuse candids with "secret photography" or "surveillance photography". Candid portraits for example are NOT "peeper pics" or "creeper pics".

Candid photography - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

A snapshot is a photo made without much thought, a quick aim and fire shot, made with the idea of the photo as a memory aid, or a memory recalling instrument. See a pretty cloud? Aim, click, snapshot. Snapshots are photos that have **personalized** meaning to the person who snapped them, or to people who were present, or who are in the photos. Just this morning I saw a bunch of snapshots of a wedding rehearsal dinner, spanned by the bride to be's mother, and slapped onto Facebook, with multiple people who were there "tagged"--so THEY could look at the shots, see what things looked like, re-live the event a little bit. The pics were pretty bad. I KNOW she's actually a decent photographer, but those were just her iPhone snapshots.

SOme academic types are now calling snapshots vernacular photography, as a way to bring a bit of gravitas to the category of the snapshot, and to maybe better describe the role snapshots play.
i realize my response was suggesting "secret" photography so i edited it a bit; that was not my intent.

candid snapshot:

DSC_0281-2 by The Braineack, on Flickr




DSC_0229-4 by The Braineack, on Flickr
"Vernacular photography" ha! This is getting better. Then again "candid snapshot" covers the bases.
What about "grab shot"?
I might walk outside, see my neighbor in brilliant morning glow, yell over and say "hey i wanna take your picture, hold on while i get my camera, act naturally," run inside, grab my camera, and then take a candid photo of my neighbor working his lawn.

Even if he is wearing a white tank top T-shirt, plaid shorts, black dress socks, and sandals?
Snapshots are invariably spontaneous. The snap part of the word suggests that there was little to no forethought involved: a snap decision is made without weighing up the pros and cons. For me, snapshots are one of the most authentic type of photographs, capturing a moment in an unaffected and natural way (as far as this is at all possible in photography).
Donde said:
What about "grab shot"?

Yes, grab shot is a good description of one of the meanings of snapshot. Around forty years ago,when I was a kid, I remember reading that the original phrase snap shot (two words) was from bird hunting, and meant a shot made suddenly, with the gun brought up to the shoulder and fired quickly, in an instantaneous and fast manner. This is the type of shotgunning done quite often for grouse and quail, in a type of hunting called jump shooting, which is different from say hunting birds that have been found out by pointing bird dogs, or shooting driven pheasants (British thing), or shooting "driven game", or pass shooting of high-flying birds such as ducks or geese, but also pigeons or doves, or of shooting decoyed birds brought in to close range by decoys and calling; in other words, long ago a snap shot was a (gun)shot taken quickly, and without advanced preparation.

As I recall from the author of that article (Herbert Keppler maybe?) the photographic term snapshot became a word only once cameras became capable of instantaneous, casual use. One does not make a snapshot using say, a full-plate or half-plate view camera with a 10-second exposure time and a Petzval lens....no...for the first fifty years or more in the history of photography, photographs were carefully planned, slowly-arranged, deliberate, and very much staged creations, and made rarely and with a lot of effort expended for each shot. Apparently, the term snap shot was shortened to one word, snapshot, and applied to photography only once making photos became easy, fast, and slow, groundglass focusing was eliminated as a necessity; the early Eastman "Kodak" pre-loaded, 100-shot, long-roll cameras were probably a key step in the transition from a 3-minute to 10-minute camera set-up process to the instantaneous ability to raise the camera, cursorily aim, and click!
Your description of snapshot covers most of my bird photography.

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