1) There is no such thing as a lazy photographer.
There are many ways in which laziness prevents a photographer from taking a stunning image. These for me are the two most important ones. First, never be happy with your initial framing or point of view. Try different angles, different points of view, go around the subject, and always ask yourself: what can I do in terms of framing to improve the storytelling power of my image? Second, zoom lenses are great, but their intense and abused use have caused many photographers to unlearn the meaning of focal length and the strength of their specific “language”. Never use the zoom to get closer to the subject if you can walk closer, once you have decided your storytelling focal length for that shot. “The best zoom lens is your legs.” ~Ernst Haas
2) Some photographs are not meant to be.
I do a lot of workshops, especially in Venice, on earth one of the richest places in terms of photographically interesting spots. And I see a lot of my students wasting their time trying to get an impact photograph out of a situation where they can just strive for a decent shot. Learn not to spend too much time in shots where you know one day you’ll say “If I had had better light… If that road sign had not been there… if… if…”. The world is full of stimulating situations with perfect light and interesting subjects, don’t waste time around not fully 100% convincing situations. …Only because a few meters ahead there can be the shot of your life… and you’re just about to miss it!
3) May light be your guide.
Search for the light. follow the light, understand light and shadows, understand how your sensor reacts and records light. Light is everything in photography, light emphasizes, lights creates volumes, light creates shapes, light changes colors, light add contrast, light design perspectives… use it!
4) Photography is not just about images.
It’s about the story you have in mind, it’s about you, it’s about those who will receive your visual story. Photographs communicate… always keep in mind that. They communicate about you, and about the subject/story you want to tell, a part, a layer of the photograph has a direct channel connected to the brain, heart and guts of its “reader”… so you better learn how to use this part of the photograph to stun and impress.
5) There are no rules.
The so called rules are the result of an important legacy from the past (art history, architecture, photography… and many other disciplines), which has led to masterpieces, but they are just a little part of the immense communicative power of the visual language. You can study Shakespeare, use the poetic rules he has used in his dramas, but this won’t necessary lead you to write a new Hamlet, or King Lear. Only those artists who have disrupted and subverted the artistic legacy to find new ways to their messages have made masterpieces, and created new rules.…not those who have coldly applied the already used rules. So don’t be afraid to experiment, to bend and break the rules to your artistic will… only endeavors that no one has tried before have led to masterpieces.