1. It’s a brand new day… get out and take lots of photos. Shooting everyday is like batting practice. You don’t think ball players get into the cage before every game to get better do you? Nope. They’re simply trying to maintain their rhythm & timing.
2. When you think you’re close… get closer.
3. Compose & crop your images in camera. This will reduce the amount of time you spend post processing.
4. Pick up your camera manual now & then and read a few pages. Yes, I understand you’re never going to read it from cover to cover. I get it. I would advise you to look at different chapters and topics periodically. It’s both enlightening and informative.
5. Don’t get bored with the familiar. Your local park, lake or hiking trail, has plenty of new angles, perspectives and stories to tell.
6. Be observant of everything around you. Sometimes you don’t see the image at first. Be patient and things often come into focus.
7. When shooting sports, don’t put the camera down when the whistle blows. Sometimes the best images occur after the play is over (i.e. jubilation, etc.).
8. No amount of Lightroom and/or Photoshop will make a bad photo good. It’s not going to happen.
9. Wait a few days or weeks before posting images to social media. When you remove yourself from the moment, you will often see your images more objectively.
11. Lens flare can be a good thing. It’s hard to control, but can result in really creative & unique images.
12. Always note the direction of the light. You may wish to under/over expose depending on the direction and intensity of the light.
13. Get outside your comfort zone… try new angles, perspectives and approaches. I’ll even toss in time of day. I’ve seen a million sunset photos. Try the opposite. Set your alarm early and get out for a few sunrise photos. It’s a magical time of the morning.
14. When shooting on assignment… arrive early & stay late. Nobody ever got penalized for either.
15. Go out and shoot a subject with one lens (preferably an infrequently used one). This will force you to see your subject in a new way.
15. “Steal Like An Artist” but don’t forget to put your own spin on the image. It’s great to mimic another photographer, but make the final image your own.
16. Use a flash and/or reflector when appropriate. A little light goes a long way.
17. As an old school film guy, I tend to shoot selectively to this day. This is a bit silly in the digital era. Take more images than you think you should and delete the bad ones.
18. Stop chimping (looking at your photos on the back of your camera). This can often take you out of the moment. There will be plenty of time to review your image(s) later.
19. Don’t be afraid to push your ISO. This is contrary to conventional wisdom, but sensors have become so good in the modern era, noise is becoming less of an issue.
20. Spend more on books, lessons, workshops & seminars than camera gear. We all know the joke about the golfer with the fancy new equipment? When he tees off, he now hits the ball an extra 10 yards deeper into the woods. You get the point…
21. Pictures are like stories… good ones will have a beginning, middle & end.
22. Be aware of your background. A cluttered background… signs, cars, buses, water bottles, etc… can ruin a picture as they distract your viewer. If possible, move your subject or blur your background to minimize these objects.
23. Go it alone. There is a time and a place for everything. Photo walks, meet ups and the like are great for camaraderie and sharing a passion. However, they’re not always great for your creativity. Sometimes finding your creative rhythm requires you to go at your own pace. Don’t be afraid to go solo when appropriate.
24. “A picture isn’t a picture until it’s printed.” I tend to agree with this line of thinking. Round up a few favorite images, get them printed and find some wall space. Bringing an image to life via a nice print & frame is both rewarding and motivational.
25. Stay humble… Life is an endless learning process and you’re never going to know everything!!!
On a parting note: Be sure to back up your images to at least two (2) different sources. Sooner or later, we all have a technical malfunction and lose data. CF and SD cards can go bad. And, external hard drives can fail. It’s inevitable. Be sure to back up your iPhone and Big Boy camera images on a regular basis.