So you have made up your mind on who/what Ur Subject is, aint it!! Hope you are aware where your subject is in relation to background/foreground. Did you notice any distracting elements around the subject..
Know your gear.. camera, lens and let’s not forget the flash. Select the right lens if you have multiple lenses.
Decide the frame and angle – in portrait or landscape format..Where is the light..Is it less or abundant..Select the metering mode to meter the light..
Understand the color of the light, adjust the white balance accordingly to achieve natural tones.. If there multiple sources with multiple colors things get complicated aint it..ugh!! If the camera allows picture-style selection then select the appropriate picture-style.
Decide if you want to meter at the center or over/under expose a stop or 2.
Select the appropriate aperture in relation to the subject and back/foreground to maintain the required DOF. Select appropriate focal length to frame your subject. If have mounted a prime lens remember that you have limbs that move.
Or is it a Standard Zoom lens ((these are the everyday lens the common-man photographer uses)), then be mindful that change in focal length might change the aperture which will change the amount of light coming through the lens and eventually change the DOF….are you wondering if you should have just got a point n’ shoot instead..
Get the shutter speed right to get a good sharp image with ambient light conditions in relation to the selected aperture. Setup the gear on a tripod to stabilize, in case of slow shutter speed. Try to figure if the focal length to shutter speed rule will help.. I know it doesn’t help in many situations..
How good is the ISO functional range of the camera.. how much can one push up the ISO before noise creeps in.. There is a shutter speed to ISO rule as well.. again this doesn’t work in every situation either.. Select the appropriate focal point while looking through the viewfinder. Remember, selecting the correct focus point ensures all of the above that you did is worth it.
Go ahead….press down the shutter release half way through (or do you use the back button focus) and the AF system comes alive.. Press the shutter release completely down and release it.. Voila!! ..You did it!! the photograph is made..
Yeah I know, there are much more things to do; based on what you are shooting and the gear that you use, apart from what I have stated here…
Next time someone asks you to take a photo.. ..You know what!!