There are some basic techniques that when followed can dramatically improves the quality of the photographs you take and the photos you select.
Rule of Thirds
Overlay an imaginary grid of thirds on your photo frame and consider using the grid lines or gir intersections as points of focus for your photographs. Moving the primary focus away from the center of the frame will give balance and interest to the image. If you browse through some of the most well respected photo collections notice that most compelling images do conform to this rule.
Leading lines can be very effective in creating depth, interest and focus. A few excellent examples:
Librado Romero/New York Times: Funeral sevices in the Bronx for a slain Police Officer
Photo Editing/Photo Selection
Digital tools provide capability for photo manipulation but for photos intended for editorial use, it is unethical to change a photo. In the 2010 election there were some shocking manipulations of skin tone. This example is quite dramatic. This example from the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram is shocking. Editors apparently Photoshopped the image of President Hosni Mubarak to position him in a more prominent position as he walked on the red carpet at the White House.
In fashion the rules seem to be less definitive. Note the recent W magazine cover.
Disconnected or strangely cropped body parts
Covering faces with graphics or typography
10 major Photoshopping scandals
Photo Photoshop disasters
Consistent eye contact in sets of photos – all making eye contact or not
Consistent color and tonal quality for the set
In groups of head shots be sure there is consistency is size otherwise you are implying importance or priority: example
A few powerful photo collections:
Telling Their Stories: Photos from Hurricane Katrina
Boston Globe Big Picture
Pulitzer Prize winning photos of 2009
Assignment: Come to class next week prepare to present your strategy for your final project. Show a wireframe schematic of the site architecture and a first look at the template and palette you plan to work from. Here is an excellent resource for wireframing and a good resource for thinking about your portfolio site from Smashing Magazine: 10 Steps to the Perfect Portfolio Website.