Your assignment: Photograph an athlete to show the world how exciting their sport is.

When would you choose to make the photos? Would you show up at practice? What about waiting for the athlete to have some free time? Or would you go to an actual competition, where the action is live and unscripted; where all of the emotions of the game are on display; where all you have to do is hang out on the fringes and capture what you see?

When photographing subjects for Ruralite stories, use the same logic. Follow the action.

Linemen look their best working under a canopy of blue sky, not a warehouse roof or utility parking lot. Want to convey what they endure during a storm outage? Go with them and photograph them in the moment.

Doing a story about a carpenter? Don’t ask when they are free. Ask when they are up-to-their-ears busy. Then you have something to photograph. Unless you are a Hollywood director, shooting real action is much easier than staging it, not to mention more ethical for journalism.

Just remember: “When are you busy?” Those 4 words will improve your photos.