For as long as I can remember (& that's quite a long time) August means summer holidays, parties & portraits (candid style).

If you're anything like my family party season is taken very seriously and we consistently rehearse throughout the year. 

Georgie's Rounders Party, Mum's Party, Fireworks Party, Christmas Party, New Year's Eve Party, Gav & Jimmy's First BBQ Party, Sunday Dinner Party, Opening of an Envelope Party.   You get the gist.  

We plan and make lists to the nth degree so there's enough food, drink & music - the 3 main party essentials - necessary for a good time to be had by all.  Although there was 1 party where we'd done a lovely long list with 100 guests.  Unfortunately, on the actual day/night we realised no-one had actually sent out the invites.  Too many cooks as they say.

Although last year like the rest of the world (except Tonga & a few other countries) we had no parties whatsoever.

Back to August 2021 - the main thing we hope to get from any parties (small, medium or large) is that family, friends & complete strangers (we've had many of those - neighbours who came to complain about the noise from next door street & ended up staying) have fun, enjoy themselves & relax.

Parties are a good time to get out your camera and snap away capturing the moment.  Candid portraits express the real person much better than the posed variety.  Happy, sad, busy, relaxed, puzzled, excited, perplexed (as seen in the photo of  Amy Winehouse who was trying to remember someone's name).

My aim is to be similar to the photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004) the master of candid photography and getting that 'decisive moment'.  As he said 'there is a creative fraction of a second when you are taking a picture. Your eye must see a composition or an expression that life itself offers you, and you must know with intuition when to click the camera. That is the moment the photographer is creative," he said. "Oop! The Moment! Once you miss it, it is gone forever.' (cf Adam Bernstein 'The Acknowledged Master of the Moment'.)         

Parties at home, in a field, at a music venue - anywhere - give you the chance to 'fix eternity in an instant' (Cartier-Bresson).  

Finally as the infamous silver screen actress Mae West said:  'you only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough' - so party away and take that candid portrait shot.

Amy Winehouse

Tips and Tricks for Candid Portrait Photography

1) Dress appropriately - blend into the background if possible - most photographers wear black for lots of reasons but one of them is so they can blend into the shadows.

2) Zoom lens - I know they're not the most inconspicuous lens (especially my favourite Canon one) - be patient eventually people will get used to you moving around and snapping clouds and butterflies and forget you're there.  That's the moment you press the shutter button.

3) No Flash - unless you want the frightened rabbit in a headlight portrait shot.

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