Approach from Tony Ray-Jones

Added on by Christopherr Mendoza.

Here are some extracts from english photographer Tony Ray-Jones' diary. Some really good tips in relation to street shooting. Its good to have these in the back of your mind while you are out shooting. I wrote a little thought or two for each.

·       BE MORE AGGRESSIVE
This is interesting, as I think works for certain people and their particular style of shooting. Is this my normal behaviour when im out on the streets? No. My natural instinct is to be that 'fly on the wall' and not have people notice me while I shoot them. Being aggressive is an interesting technique as I suppose it provokes and pushes a reaction out of your subject.

·       GET MORE INVOLVED (TALK TO PEOPLE)
Again, not something I normally do. If I see a character and I REALLY want a portrait. I have no problem engaging with the person. 

·       STAY WITH THE SUBJECT MATTER (BE PATIENT)
I need to work on this. I feel like I need to always be moving. Trying to stay still in one spot for 5 min is extremely challenging. Must work on this.

·       TAKE SIMPLER PICTURES
Agreed. Need to focus on the basics and fundamentals. The complex and heavily layered photos will come later... hopefully!

·       SEE IF EVERYTHING IN BACKGROUND RELATES TO SUBJECT MATTER
The background is important. This is something that I easily forget. The fact that I am now usually shooting f8 or f11 means that the background is now important. Its a visual element. I need to remember this.

·       VARY COMPOSITIONS AND ANGLES MORE
I need to learn how to take 3 or 4 consecutive shots while in a stationary position, with each shot at a different angle or view point. I tend to just take one shot and then leave the scene. Boo.

·       BE MORE AWARE OF COMPOSITION
Hell yeah.

·       DON’T TAKE BORING PICTURES
Ha! Duly noted.

·       GET IN CLOSER (USE 50mm LESS)
I have been shooting exclusively with a 35mm for the past 8 months. I like it. but at times I wish I could go wider. Maybe a 28mm... or 24mm if im feeling brave.

·       WATCH CAMERA SHAKE (shoot 250sec or above)
Yep. I keep my shutter at 500sec or 250sec. This basically means, I do my shooting during the day only.

·       DON’T SHOOT TOO MUCH
I guess only stop shooting when you have to rest your feet :)

·       NOT ALL AT EYE LEVEL
I am pretty bad at this. And with me being slightly taller then average, you can see it in some of my shots. I need to get low. But my darn achy back doesnt like it.

·       NO MIDDLE DISTANCE
Im assuming this refers to getting closer to your subject. You dont want to have to much space between you and your subject.

Below is a photo of Tony Ray-Jones actual diary with these approach tips written down.

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