1 Keep it simple The simpler the message the more saleable the image.
2 Chase the light Early morning, late afternoon/evening are winners (if it's not cloudy) some people call it the golden hour. Soft, cloud-filtered light can work well with some subjects (see the chive shot above). But, don't be afraid to experiment, sometimes you can make great shots at the time of day when some photographers are having a nap. Light, it makes the difference between a picture that sells and one that doesn't.
3 Frame your image in camera-don't just snap away
Unless you have lots and lots of time to waste! If you can't see the image in the viewfinder in the first few seconds, then you probably don't have one. Try a different angle, or just move on and shoot something else. Just because digi is 'cheap' doesn't mean it's free! Time is valuable. Time is the one thing you can't buy, especially when you are chasing the light (see 2). So save time at the editing stage by having a good set of shots in the first place.
4 If in doubt, chuck it out This is my mantra. So edit, edit, edit. Don't store away pictures just because 'you think it may be ok'. If you're not sure then it probably isn't good enough. An editor is not going to wade through lots of shots just to find one decent one-they don't have the time and crucially, good photographers are good editors too.
The DELETE button is your friend
5 Research and practice You can't do enough of this. Look at magazines, books the internet, anywhere and see how the pro's do it. Look at they angles they choose, how they frame their shots and try to work out what camera settings they use. Then give it a go. One professional portrait photographer once told me,
'Taking photographs is like riding a bike, you get better the more you practice'.
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