#Plandid shots might be taking over Instagram feeds, but a candid shot will always be worth a thousand words. Whether it’s a casual snap of someone on the street or a thrilling action shot of a one-time event, candid photography gives you the freedom to tell a story in a natural setting with real subjects. However, that’s what makes this art form so difficult. Finding yourself at the right place at the right time can take a considerable amount of patience. Get a head start by looking out for these five candid photo opportunities.

1 SCENIC BACKDROPS

Beaches, mountains, city skylines, you name it. There are a number of natural backdrops you can use to frame a beautiful candid scenario. Once you’ve found your setting, look for a subject that is interacting with their environment. For example, a person taking in shorefront views at the beach or using a telescope to stargaze the night sky.

Pro Tip: Make sure to follow basic composition rules like identifying leading lines to add depth to your photo or creating negative space to apply the Rule of Thirds for more balance.

Shot by Thomas Machuelle with an Olympus OM-D Camera | M.Zuiko 12-40mm F2.8 PRO Lens | 1/100 sec | F8 | ISO200

2 HISTORIC LANDMARKS

Cities known for their architecture offer some of the best backdrops (and personality) for candid photography because of all of their history (and visitors). From observant tourists to local civilians, historical landmarks draw a variety of subjects while offering a spectacular ambience.

Pro Tip: Set your camera in aperture priority mode so you can control your depth of field while letting the camera automatically adjust the shutter speed. In this way you can determine how focused you want the background to be.

Shot by Thomas Machuelle with an Olympus OM-D Camera | M.Zuiko 12-40mm F2.8 PRO Lens | 1/600 sec | F8 | ISO200z

3 ANIMALS

When we think candid photography, we tend to think people, but animals make for great subjects too. Though they tend to be unpredictable, animals often linger longer than people might (unless you startle them). Photographing animals takes a bit more patience but your shots will always have that candid look.

Pro Tip: Try to shoot with shutter speeds over 1/125 sec to avoid blur from sudden movements.

Shot by Olympus User Gallery Contributor Cheryl Ess with an Olympus OM-D Camera | M.Zuiko 300mm F4.0 PRO Lens | 1/800 sec | F6.3 | ISO200

4 PEOPLE IN MOTION

Ultimately, candid photography is about freezing a moment in time. It’s about catching subjects off-guard to capture authenticity. In cities like Barcelona or Manhattan, street performers might be one of the best subjects to photograph—and with good reason. People with energy are more interesting even if it takes more snaps to get the shot you want.

Pro Tip: In daylight (or other well-lit environments), use fast shutter speeds and a camera with continuous shooting so you can keep up with all the action and get a clear final shot.

Shot by Olympus User Gallery Contributor Tri Handoko with an Olympus OM-D Camera | 1/1000 sec | F2.8 | ISO250

5 ABSTRACT DESIGNS

Look beyond natural scenery to add an artistic edge to your candid shots. From art murals to mosaic tile installations, abstract designs not only offer a one-of-kind backdrop, but also allows more room for creativity.

Pro Tip: Monochromatic effects add a timeless appeal to your story. For a more dramatic effect, you can choose an in-camera art filter that captures in black and white. If you shoot RAW, you can apply these same art filters using editing apps like the Olympus Image Palette.

Shot by Thomas Machuelle with an Olympus OM-D Camera | M.Zuiko 12-40mm F2.8 PRO Lens | 1/600 sec | F8 | ISO200