1. Travel Photography – RESEARCH is your best asset. Plan A should put you at an exact location at a particular time to shoot a pre-visualized scene. After Plan A switch to Plan B which is reacting to what you see and like. Plan B emphasizes taking time to connect with the scene emotionally – explore, walk, be curious and identify the strongest elements.
2. Think of an image as being made up of elements, for example the clouds, water, foreground, texture etc. Identify the elements of a scene and realize that ALL the elements need to be great for a great image. Pay special attention to moving elements, like water and clouds; timing can be essential. Each bland element will degrade your overall image. However, some photographers use textures in post processing to mask weak elements.
3. Composing is the process of adding and taking away elements in the picture space by zooming and/or positioning. You should be spending most of your time doing this when taking a picture.
4. Watch your edges when you compose. Make a commitment for God’s sake – is that element part of your composition or not, don’t pretend it’s not there, we’ll all see it.
5. Work hard to develop a sense of quality of light and when to shoot. Know bad light, good light, and great light. If I’m at a great scene and the light is bad I take a few documentary shots and move on.
6. Even if you have not been bitten by the HDR bug take bracketed image sets. There is a good chance the 0EV will not be your favorite or you can blend several shots together. More images equals more options as your style evolves.
7. Take bad pictures. Who ever heard of such a thing? Well it’s part of the warm-up process to great pictures. Think of it as tuning your composition and camera settings, similar to a musician tuning his guitar before the performance. However, only share your very best, archive everything else.
8. Avoid pitfalls that immediately throw you into the rookie category – tilting horizons, sensor dust, red-eye, and both eyes out of focus.
9. Avoid busy images – each element should be a building block that makes the overall image pleasing. Busy images are like busy days – stressful.
10. Grab shots of the sunset from your front door are rarely great. The sunset is only ONE element of the picture, plan ahead by finding a strong foreground.
11. Your loved ones will tell you it’s a great photograph and it probably isn’t.