This article from PictureCorrect was written by photographer Ray Salisbury.
I’m ashamed to admit it but whenever I’m doing a photoshoot I am relying on a single memory card. Well, at least I have one card for each of my cameras, so I’m not completely lost if one of them fills up or gets destroyed… But still, I know I should be prepared for the worst!
DON’T READ THE CAMERA MANUAL
Same old story: you buy a new camera, put the box away and the camera’s manual stays inside the plastic bag. Perhaps you were too eager to use your new gadget. Well, now it’s time to dig out the manual, and attack it with a highlighter pen.
Be methodical, and diligently work through each function of your camera. You may find features you didn’t know existed!
CENTER THE SUBJECT
Ignore the rules of composition at your peril. If you want your photos to stand out, learn and use the Rule of Thirds rather than place your focal point bang in the middle, like most folks do, (in blissful ignorance). Or, add dynamic by tilting your camera at an angle. Don’t forget to try different types of framing: portrait orientation versus landscape orientation. Or even a really wide panoramic crop.
FAIL TO CONSIDER THE BACKGROUND
Look for a simple background behind your subject. For example, avoid having a telephone pole in the distance that appears to protrude from a person’s head. If you have a long lens, you can employ a narrow depth-of-field to blur the background. This will isolate your subject from the clutter beyond, achieving a degree of separation.
Constantly checking your images on the LCD display is called chimping. Nothing wrong with it, unless you’re into street photography or at a wedding or party. You may miss that decisive moment, as you’re too engrossed in the perfectionistic tendency of chimping.
RELY ON A SINGLE MEMORY CARD
Those little storage cards are expensive, but the temptation to be frugal will bite you on the bum. Murphy’s Law states that your memory card will fill up precisely when you’re shooting that money shot, when the light is right, or when the entire group is all smiling at you. The remedy? Buy more memory cards.
SHOOT FROM EYE LEVEL
Amateur shutterbugs tend to hold the camera at head-height. However, this will produce predictable results. When shooting in a location, learn to ‘work the scene’. Drop to your knees, or even lie on the ground, searching for fresh angles. An aerial perspective can be stunning. Remember that the best tool of composition is your feet.
POST TOO MANY PHOTOS
We all take poor pictures, badly exposed or blurry, but there’s no need to inflict these on the unsuspecting public! Carefully select only your best images, then process these on the computer.