Be prepared to take your own photographs for most of your writing. While some publishers still assign photographers to gather images, this practice is now the exception, not the rule. Here’s five things I’ve learned.
Get closer. Don’t assume you can enlarge a photograph later with an image processing program like Photoshop. Get closer, to people, places, and things.
Get people shots. Yes, you may be covering a car show, but be sure to take pictures of people with their cars, not just cars alone. Its the human interest factor. Everything seems to be more compelling when you put a person in with the picture.
Use a telephoto camera when needed. Your camera phone will work fine most of the time. But have a telephoto ready to go. Remember getting closer? That telephoto will grab a person on a climbing wall, a fireman on a ladder, or a heron at a wildlife refuge. I don’t understand the operating of a DSLR, but I have a Sony point and shoot with a 50X telephoto lens.
Take more. While you don’t want to overwhelm your editor with pictures, you do want to give her plenty of choices. I typically submit 10 images along with captions, even though the finished article may only use two or three.
Ask your editor if you need a model release from people you photograph. Most of the time it is not needed, feel free to shoot the crowd, but make absolutely sure you know what the publisher requires.
And remember, “Don’t pack up your camera until you’ve left the location.” Joe McNally, The Moment It Clicks: Photography Secrets from One of the World’s Top Shooters.