Former news photographer tells all, shares methods, tips, tricks to make impactful, story-telling images

copyright © 2000 Ted Salois

A just-released book, Seven Simple Steps To Make Images Like A News Photographer, trumpets a philosophy that even the freshest, greenest newbie can make fantastic pictures with the most basic visual recording device—such as a cell phone camera.

In fact, the opening page reads: “The value of a photograph has absolutely no correlation with the cost or sophistication of the camera that helped make it. Or, as someone once said, ‘It’s the magician, not the wand!’”

“Making impactful images requires no special access to newsworthy events,” said Ted Salois, author and former photojournalist who has traveled the globe and garnered numerous awards for his work covering ordinary and historic events. “You can capture incredible photos on a family vacation, at a backyard picnic, a little league game or just a walk through your neighborhood.”

Seven Simple Steps… shows how news photographers tackle their assignments, what they look for in every outing and some techniques and tools they employ to bring back pictures that tell the story and make lasting impressions.

The book details a news photographer’s approach to lighting, composition, shadows, reflections, framing, silhouettes, sunbursts, patterns, cropping, layouts, human focus, public trust, spot news, setups, features, privacy, humor, action, blurring, panning, portraiture, storytelling, the photo market, rights, editors, model releases, ethics, credibility, professionalism, and much more.

copyright © 1986 Ted Salois

These tips are shared to help readers improve their shooting skills, regardless of what type of camera they use and even if they have no interest in pursuing a career in photo reporting, an incredibly rewarding profession.

All of the book’s tips and advice on shooting are geared toward the capturing of great content.

“In photojournalism,” Salois said, “it’s called ‘The Moment.’ There is a specific instant in time when all the elements in a scene are ripe for freezing. That split-second will be the best to tell the story.

“It most likely will include a helpful background, a suitable cropping and one or more humans with an expression that communicates the meaning of the situation.”

Thus, the book declares, content is king. It also encourages people to avoid stressing over acquiring the best equipment. The author notes that some of history’s most memorable images had numerous technical problems.

“Nowadays, people are collecting soda cans to return for their deposit and shaking down couch cushions for hidden coins to save up for a camera with a high-resolution sensor,” Salois said. “That’s not necessary.”

copyright © 1993 Ted Salois

If you have seen any traveling photographic exhibits, you almost certainly would have found images no larger than five by seven inches on display.

“It’s what’s in the image that’s important, not the overall size,” Salois said. “And today’s cameras, virtually any of them, even cell phones, will make very sharp images that big and larger.

“You’ve undoubtedly heard the phrase, ‘size doesn’t matter’ and, in this domain, it’s actually true.”

Seven Simple Steps To Make Images Like A News Photographer is available through normal bookseller channels, such as Amazon,, and Barnes & Noble,


About the Author

Ted Salois’ photo reporting “beat” was covering U.S. military personnel, their families, and events around the world. His efforts have won him more than 50 personal awards in competitions sponsored by Nikon, Kodak, the National Press Photographers Association and the Department of Defense.

Portfolios from his work twice earned him the title of Photographer of the Year in Military Pictures of the Year competitions. He also was a two-time runner up for the title. The U.S. Military Sports Association also named Salois its Military Photojournalist of the Year.

As Chief Photographer at the daily newspaper Pacific Stars & Stripes, headquartered in Tokyo, Salois and the staff photo team earned more than 50 individual awards in similar competitions. During his tenure there, Salois also was named the publication’s Journalist of the Year.

While a staff member of a weekly newspaper in central California, Salois achieved a high ranking in Photographer of the Year competition for the National Press Photographers Association, Region 10, which includes photographers from the Los Angeles Times, Seattle Times, Orange County Register, San Diego Union Tribune, San Jose Mercury News, and many others.

Salois’ international coverage highlights include enforcement of the No-Fly Zone over Iraq from the aircraft carrier Independence in the Persian Gulf; eruption of Mt. Pinatubo and evacuation of American families from the Philippines; first repatriation of U.S. servicemen from Hanoi, Vietnam, after lifting of the trade embargo; Chinese student protests in Shanghai in the days preceding a military crackdown in Beijing; and the first U.S. warship visit in more than 50 years to Vladivostok, Russia, in the Soviet Union.

Salois also filed from United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Australia, Italy, Spain, France, Germany and England.

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