Are you curious about how to go about shooting strangers on the street? So are we! Read on for tips from a pro.
We love the work and approach of Toronto Street photographer Ravi Maharaj. Ravi was kind enough the share insights about the process of getting up close and personal with your subjects in the city streets. Ravi also contributed an interview for the Five Questions series. We are grateful for the contribution and hope you find both parts informative.
“In regards to my process of street photography I like to keep things really simple in the technical aspect so I can focus mainly on my surroundings and the particular moments/scenes that are interesting. This means that I usually stick to priority modes depending on the time of day and scenarios I’m focusing on capturing.
Tip #1 – be upfront and deliberate
I think there are two key tips for capturing the right moments in Street Photography. The first is to be upfront and deliberate in your approach – don’t hide. Any effort to hide or conceal yourself will signal to your subject that you know you are doing something they might not be comfortable with. Instead I just treat each situation very casual which makes the subject comfortable (if they even notice) and also allows me to take any angle or position I want to get the right shot.
Tip #2 – capture without hesitation
The second tip is to avoid any hesitation. This skill simply comes with tons of practice, and it’s still something I struggle with from time to time. But it’s important that you respond quickly to your intuitions so that you don’t miss the right moment. I’ve missed countless great shots because I reacted too late. No hesitation also communicates to your subject that you are comfortable and don’t have anything to hide in your actions.
Shooting Candids and Dealing With People
In terms of dealing with people that might take offence to being photographed, I always make sure to stay very calm, casual, and friendly with them and will take the time to explain what I do and even show them some of my work to ease their concerns. This is usually enough; and if it isn’t, I offer to delete the photo on the spot. But the majority of the time people are too busy to bother with me or just simply don’t mind. And in some cases, people will actually go along with it! They will give me a candid expression or action that they think I want or just exaggerate whatever they are presently doing. Moments like this are hilarious and definitely put a smile on my face, but overall I still tend to prefer authentic expressions and scenes that come from truly candid moments. “
Self-portrait with photographer Ravi Maharaj
Tdot Shots Five Questions Interview with Ravi Maharaj
Who are you?
My name is Ravi Maharaj, I’m an Urban/Street and occasional Portrait Photographer. By day I work in Account Management for a Telecom company based in North York. I currently reside in Pickering, Ontario and frequently venture to downtown Toronto after work or during my spare time on the weekends to shoot.
How did you get started in photography?
I started doing photography in 2018. At the time I was gallivanting downtown weekly to chill with friends and enjoy the Toronto nightlife. At the time I was inspired by Toronto urban photography seen on Instagram and shoot on my phone during my outings just for fun. As I continued to do this I progressively got better and started looking forward to shooting just as much as the outing itself. One thing led to another and I eventually bought my first camera and never looked back.
What subjects and locations do you like to shoot?
I started shooting mostly Urban but overtime made a switch to Street Photography. I’ve always been deeply interested in Psychology and the understanding of human behavior. In some ways, this interest goes hand in hand with the process of Street Photography. Although if I’m keeping it 100, I really enjoy the thrill of shooting Street. There’s endless possibilities and scenarios that present themselves constantly giving fuel to my creative process that keeps me motivated and inspired.
What gear do you use?
I shoot with a Nikon D3400 – 50mm 1.8 f and Sigma 18-35mm 1.8f.
Who are your favourite photographers?
Some of my favorite photographers include @soteeoh @tahaphoto @monaris and @ashrafularefin and Vivian Maier. Although to be honest – more than the work of other photographers – what inspires me to shoot is music. Specifically Hip Hop and RnB. I consider myself a connoisseur of these genres and the inspiration I get from them underlies everything I do creatively. I can’t explain how, but just know that it does.
Thanks for the interview!
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