1. Be Creative
Not every subject you shoot is going to be interesting or exciting. Sometimes you’ll have to work to bring the most out of a boring subject. Don’t let this intimidate you. Sometimes you can pull out extremely creative photos from the most mundane of subject matter. You don’t always get to choose the subject matter you shoot but you should always approach each subject with the most creative eye possible.
2. Be Social
When I say “Be Social” I mean two things. One, get out there and engage with your subject or with other photographers when you’re shooting. Don’t be afraid to communicate and talk to people. Don’t think of them as just a subject for a photo but as a person with a personality. You may be surprised what you find out when you talk to people, heck, it might even lead you to new shoots. Second, don’t be afraid to share your work and your experiences online. Blog, tweet, post, whatever, but don’t stay isolated and bottled up. You are special, your experiences matter and you could influence someone else.
3. Be Strong
Our job is a physical one. Your could be carrying a 30-40 pound camera bag, multiple camera bodies and a tripod for hours at a time while also running around, getting up and down multiple times, crawling, jumping, rolling and just contorting your body in any position necessary to get the shot. Your job can take a real toll on your body. It’s important to exercise and eat right. Don’t take your physical health for granted. A friend of mine died of a heart attack while on an assignment and he was only in his 50s. It can happen, don’t let it happen to you.
4. Be Open
I don’t care how long you’ve been in this business, how much money you earned, how many clients you’ve worked for or how many degrees you have, you can always learn something. Don’t ever dismiss anyone’s ideas just because they have less experience than you. We all had to start somewhere and you’d be surprised what you can learn from someone with a different perspective. Experience is a great thing but don’t let it close you off to new ideas and new ways to see the world. Everyone has something to contribute and the moment you close your mind is the moment when you begin to stagnate.
5. Be Prepared
Always have your gear ready and nearby whenever possible. Ensure your cameras and lenses are clean, your batteries are charged and your memory cards are empty. If you don’t have your main camera with you at all times at least have a backup or, if nothing else, have a cell phone with a camera. You never know when a moment might occur but you always need to be ready to capture it.