It’s been a long time since I’ve done candid photography. In fact, it’s been over a year. This weekend my wife requested that I take a series of images of her and her sister opening birthday gifts while visiting her mother in Amsterdam, NY. While, of course, this was no great world event (although I wouldn't openly admit that to my significant other), it was a quick reminder to me that even under semi-staged conditions, camera grids don’t work with candid photography.
Candid photography, whether it’s street or any type of action photography, leaves little time for composing your subject. On average, a fraction of a second. Within this fraction of a second, the photographer has to think about figure-ground relationship, overlapping elements, arabesques, pointing devices, dominant horizontal, vertical and diagonal lines, subject mood, and so on. Obviously, this doesn't allow the photographer many opportunities for lining up visual elements on a grid.
If you're a photographer that shoots landscapes, or any subject matter that allows you the freedom of time to compose, you might find the use of camera grids beneficial for learning more about the armature of the rectangle. However, it's also important to note that you shouldn't continually rely on design grids attached to your camera, regardless of the application, because, in time, your ability to shoot under real-world situations becomes more difficult and your intuitive visual literacy skills will start to decline.
Click here to learn more composition tips and techniques.