October 25, 2011

Jay Maisel Workshop #4

I have had several people ask me:  “What exactly did Jay teach you about street photography?”  “Could we have more details about your process in taking these shots?”
I guess the biggest thing that I learned from Jay was “slow-down”.  Walk slowly; take-in everything around you.  When you see something interesting, study it to determine what you want to do.  Then slowly raise your camera to your eye (“don’t scare your prey with sudden movement”).  Slowly and carefully frame your subject.  Remember to look around the edges to make sure that you have no distracting elements.  Forget:  “I will fix it in Photoshop”.
Jay liked today’s photo.  He liked that I was down at the little girls level—we were looking eye to eye.  He liked that she was looking straight at me—that generated a feeling of connection between me (and ultimately the viewer) and the little girl.  He liked how the stroller’s lines added a dynamic element to the photo and how the balloon acted as an anchor and also eliminated a lot of bright pink that would have taken the viewer's eye away from the little girl's face.  He did not like that I shot the photo at f/5.6.  He believes that for ultimate sharpness, you need to shoot every lens about one to two f-stops up from its maximum f-stop, which would be f/8 to f/11 for this lens.  He also did not like that I shot this in landscape orientation.  It showed too much uninteresting space to the left of the little girl.
I agreed with all of his comments.  For my blog, I have committed the mortal sin of cropping today’s photo to illustrate Jay’s point about landscape vs. portrait orientation.
Camera settings:  Nikon D3, Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 at 200mm, ISO 1,600, f/5.6 and with shutter speeds 1/250th of second.
Post Processing:  NONE!


  1. The cropping makes a big difference. I do think that the red balloon and the pink dress does distract you from her face.

  2. to me the balloon is a distraction i would like to see just her face.

  3. Jay nailed it. Nothing left to say.