Take the initiative.
Don't wait for assignments to come to the photo department. Control your own destiny. Generate your own photos and stories. This builds journalistic credibility within your newspaper and gets the photographer in on the ground floor when a story is taking shape.
Sometimes stories don't end up going where you expected, but allow a photographer to take a chance and see where they end up.
Photo Editors need to be part of the brainstorming process.
Many of the best journalists I know are photo editors. Their journalistic expertise should be valued not just for visual acumen but for story ideas and suggestions.
Take numbers/stories and put a face on them.
Often, these can yield some of the most compelling and useful journalism you can do for readers. Use photojournalism to explain the world to readers. When covering a hockey championship, don't automatically show the winning goal; the more storytelling photo may be to show what scoring that goal meant to both the scoring player and the goalie who let the goal in.
Aim to move readers.
Photojournalism can be powerful; harness that power to shoot pictures that make a difference.
Tell people about the little things in their community that they might see but not necessarily understand.
San Francisco Examiner photographer Christina Koci-Hernandez photographed people turning 100 at the turn of the millennium. The pictures were beautiful portraits that went beyond basics. They told something about the character and life of each person.
(Marcia Prouse is senior team leader for photography at the Orange County Register)