Three Approaches to Snapshots: Ikuko Tsurumaki

By Ikuko Tsurumaki (photographer)

What matters is not a process but results

I love taking snapshots in towns which offers a chance of bumping into people or seeing something unexpected. Perhaps because I was born in Tokyo’s downtown, less tidy towns are more attractive to me than beautiful and modern ones. We assume that snapshots depict people. But if a snapshot does not capture anyone, I think it is still fine so long as it makes you feel someone from it. And the essence of snapshots is how to photograph the everyday life of local people in a fresh and interesting way. In so doing, you can also show your character and interests.

That makes it important to choose a right camera. In my case, I choose it depending on what I want to photograph in the town. When I want to walk around, I use a mirrorless camera. I also put a large-aperture single fixed lens on my DSLR camera. It is not good to prepare different lenses for different scenes. That makes you not just feel heavy but get lost. If you have at least rough images of what you want to shoot, it should select a suitable camera for you.

Checking images you have just shot right after shooting makes it easy to select good ones because your feelings and the scene are still fresh. But reviewing pictures after a while sometimes causes an opposite case: photographs which you thought were good now look poor. And don’t select photos based on your attachment to them such as “this photo was hard to take” or “I have lots of memories in this town”.

It is important to see your own works objectively, understanding that what matters is not a process but results. In photo contests winners’ works are often ones at which the jury gazes for a long time: high-quality photographs including print papers are never boring. Thus, always keep it in mind that you show your works to people. And guard against complacency.

Tips to win a photo contest


Ikuko Tsurumaki was born in 1972 in Katsushika-ward in Tokyo. After working for a wedding photography company, she became a freelance photographer in 2007.

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