The work of photographers, Alfred Stieglitz and Ansel Adams inspired Ronis to begin exploring photography. After his father's death, in 1949, Ronis closed the studio and joined the photo agency, Rapho, with Ergy Landau, Brassaï, and Robert Doisneau.
Ronis became the first French photographer to work for LIFE Magazine. In 1953, Edward Steichen included Ronis, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Doisneau, Izis, and Brassaï in an exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art entitled Five French Photographers. In 1955, Ronis was included in the The Family of Man exhibit. The Venice Biennale awarded Ronis the Gold Medal in 1957. Ronis began teaching in the 1950s, and taught at the School of Fine Arts in Avignon, Aix-en-Provence and Saint Charles, Marseilles. In 1979 he was awarded the Grand Prix des Arts et Lettres for Photography by the Minister for Culture. Ronis won the Prix Nadar in 1981 for his photobook, Le fil du hasard.
Ronis' wife, Anne Marie was the subject of his well-known,  photo, Provencal Nude. The photo, showing Anne Marie washing at a basin with a water pitcher on the floor and an open window through which the viewer can see a garden, is noted for its ability to convey an easy feeling of provencal life. Late in her life, Ronis photographed Anne Marie suffering from Alzheimer's disease, sitting alone in a hospital yard. Anne Marie died in 1991.
"It is my contemporaries who most interest me, ordinary people with ordinary lives," he explained in an interview in his crowded apartment in eastern Paris. "I have never sought out the extraordinary or the scoop. I looked for what complemented my life. The beauty of the ordinary was always the source of my greatest emotions."
"I have never been so anxious as when I developed that film," he recalled. "My emotion was strong, because I felt that, if the image was good, technically and aesthetically, it would be a major moment in my life, a prosaic moment of extraordinary poetry."
"Very early on, I had the intuition that photography could be an art if an artist held the camera," he said. "But even when I was 50, photographers didn't dare call themselves artists here."
Avenue Simon-Bolivar, Paris, 1950
Dessous de l'Opera
Venise fillette, 1959
14 juillet 1936, rue du faubourg Saint-Antoine, Paris.
Le Nu Provencal, 1949
Place Vendome, Paris, 1947
Vincent Sleeping, 1946
Domingo en el Louvre
Deena de dos, Galerie Camera Obscura
Gordes, hiver, 1957
The Lovers of the Bastille, Paris, 1957