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  • Writer's pictureMark Heathcote

My Own Tony Ray Jones Notebook

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If you have never seen Tony Ray Jones' notebook, it is worth a google. He made notes on how to improve his technique and lessons learned. His work was incredible but unfortunately he died young. You can find out more about him on wikipedia. Here is one page from that notebook:

Very wise words indeed. This inspired me to keep my own notes which formed the basis of my training workshops in London. Here are a few items from my very own (long) notebook, though of course this is just a guide rather than a set of rules. I often break them myself. I hope they help:

  • Fill the frame

  • Look for juxtaposition

  • When the arms are doing something, shoot

  • Shoot the hell out of interesting situations

  • Ignore the subject when framing, look at the background /focus on edges and corners

  • Learn to see

  • Shoot the crowd, not the event

  • Admit to yourself when you missed the shot - delete it

  • Find a scene, with good light, wait for actors, pictures will happen

  • Improvisation creates uncertainty and potential failure. Failure is fine

  • Triangles / threes

  • Be more aggressive

  • Don't be self conscious

  • Don’t chimp - see article on chimping

  • Minimum 1/500 sec

  • F8 and be there

  • Study books of photos

  • Zone / hyperfocal focus

  • Look past people you are taking a shot of (so they don’t think you are shooting them).

  • Work a location over time

My workshops use much more material and are divided into specialist topics to allow students to focus on their weaknesses:

'How to see'

'How to increase the chances of an awesome shot'

'How to grow as a photographer'

'How to use you camera as a tool'

'The photographic process'


For a stream of my work, follow me on Twitter or Instagram. If you are interested in rapidly improving your street photography, get in touch about my workshops (mainly London). Also open to commissions or editorial of course.


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