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If you find the "Quick Tips" version to be visual hot sauce, please watch "Savory Tips to Improve Photos." It's the same presentation with more time to savor each image.
Read equipment manuals three times.
Have the right equipment for the job.
Know the difference between nouns and verbs.
Pre-consider potential visual problems and solutions.
Photo basics (see below for specifics)
Fill the frame.
Have sharp focus.
Get the right exposure.
Time the images.
Fill the frame:
Use long lens.
Crop in camera.
Back away when necessary.
Stabilize the camera.
Focus on lead eye.
Adjust plane of focus / angle.
Use depth of field.
Adjust focal length for available light.
When focusing manually, use one finger.
Hand meter the area.
Use alternative meter techniques: Sunny 16, palm, grass.
Understand the dynamic range.
Look for repeated action patterns.
Anticipate the action.
Shoot at apex.
Shoot before collision - wind through reaction.
Get reflective shots (quiet moments)
Seek "timeless" images.
Time of day.
Shoot horizontals and verticals.
Start with a clean background.
Have dark corners.
Place subject in background.
Use subject and foreground to cover unwanted elements.
Leave leading space.
Use Rule of Thirds/Fifths.
Build a strong skeletal structure.
Frame items within other items.
Have clean edges.
Lead eyes with light and focus.
Layer the image.
Employ leading lines.
Employ repetition of pattern.
Juxtaposition (harmony / irony)
Where to crop:
Avoid cropping joints.
Contain subject within rectangle (Golden Ratio).
Avoid lights, reflections and voids.
Frame arcs and lines.
Research stories - find those with emotional elements.
Verify location, access.
Have business cards, pencil and notepad.
Refuse access contracts.
Arrive early. Stay late.
Shoot signs and rosters. Collect paperwork. Shoot name tags and numbers.
Shoot basic package: scene, normal, tight
Shoot story: lede, transitions, kicker, emotion.
Get cutline information (5W & H). Get sound if possible.
Hunting techniques: shadows, oblique angle, concealment, pre-compose, pre-focus
Use attention span limitations.
Tell the story.
Get main subjects.
Shoot 100-frame minimum.
Use each lens.
Shoot each angle (left, right, high, low).
Shoot reflection / refraction.
Shoot silhouette / isolation.
Understand the story.
Be able to tell the story in one frame, three frames, five frames, 20 frames.
Have all cutline information.
Have 100+ images.
Find new word.
Make unique (rare) images: access, subject, news value, combination.
Use flash whenever it's helpful (no light, too slow).
Use flash from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. outdoors (fill light).
Get flash off the camera.
Understand what causes red-eye.
Try to keep flash angles from 45 to 90 degrees.
Color balance artificial light.
Learn to light large areas.
Use multiple lights to add depth.
Be ready to manually calculate exposure (guide number).
Understand inverse square law of light.
Speed techniques (stop action).
Light painting with mixed light and flash (holiday lights, fireworks, lightning).
Increase depth of field with artificial light.