Checkpoint 1: Overview


You are finished with this checkpoint when you:

  • Shoot well-lit and correctly exposed photos
  • Shoot images showing a person’s hands performing the actions being described without obstructing the view
  • Place the main focus of each image in the center of the frame and zoom in far enough
  • Shoot images free of blur caused by camera shake or small image sizes
  • Set the white balance correctly for all pictures
  • Use a clean background free of distracting clutter for all photos

Email Us When... have some photos ready that you'd like us to look over. Simply upload your photos to your guide, then email techwriting[at]ifixit[dot]com with a link to your guide on the site. (Don't worry about writing text for your guide steps yet—we'll cover that in Checkpoint 2.) We're happy to offer feedback to help you get your photo skills totally dialed in! 


This checkpoint is all about two things: preparation and shooting great guide photos. Shooting photos is usually the fun part, but in order for your photos to really be instructive, you'll need to learn a bit about guide photos and how they differ from the kind of photos you take every day.


Plan Your Guide

Writing a guide to share your fix with others means more than just learning how to fix it and writing it down.

You probably already know how to fix some things that others might not. How did you learn to fix it? What process did you go through?

To share your fix with others, ask yourself a few questions:

  • What tools, parts, or materials will be needed?

  • How many steps are required? Break your fix down into a series of simple steps that anyone could follow. Each step should communicate a single action or instruction. Try to estimate the total number of steps from beginning to end.

  • How long will it take? How long might it take someone who is doing it for the first time?

  • Is there anything that might seem challenging about this fix that could discourage others from trying it? How can you address those challenges?

Shooting Guide Photos

People tend to learn and absorb new information more quickly when it is presented in a visually appealing way. Start creating a great Fast Fix by photographing the process from beginning to end.

Taking instructional photos is a bit different from the kind of everyday photos you’re used to, so follow the How to Take Awesome Photos guide below to complete this checkpoint.

A word to the wise: reading through the guide below will save you hours of time fighting with lighting, fiddling with camera settings, and making other rookie mistakes—so don't skip it!


Before you start, check out the photos in these Fast Fix guides from other iFixit contributors, so you know what to shoot for:

Guide Creation

  • Create a new guide by clicking here.

  • Under “What type of guide is this?” choose “Technique” or “Replacement” from the drop down menu. (Most Fast Fix projects will either cover a specific repair technique for a broken item or the replacement of a broken part.)

  • Give your guide a short, descriptive title. For example, you could write a technique guide entitled "How to Patch a Flat Tire" or a replacement guide entitled "Skateboard Wheel Replacement." (If there's already an automatically generated title or partial title such as "Fast Fix Replacement" in this box, go ahead and change it to something more descriptive.)

  • Write a short summary for your guide. The summary is used in search results, so keep it brief (one or two sentences), and include any terms or phrases that your readers would be likely to search for. A good example of a summary might be, "Fix a hole in your jeans by sewing on a denim patch."

  • Click the “Show More” button. This brings up some additional fields for your guide.

  • Write a short introductory paragraph for your guide. The introduction should contain any background information a reader would need before they begin. Think about what you would tell a friend before doing this guide: any special requirements, hazards, why this fix might be needed, etc.

  • Add the "Fast Fix" tag to your guide. In the Tags section at the lower right, fill in the phrase Fast Fix—and be sure to click 'Add' then 'Save Tags.'

  • Leave the “Flags” section alone for now. At the bottom of the page, you may see some auto-generated "In Progress" or “Student In Progress” flags that mark your guide as being part of a student project. It's okay to leave these alone for now.

  • Click “Save.” Congratulations! You’re ready to start your guide and will now be taken to the Edit page for the first step.

Guide Steps

For each step in your guide, you’ll add both written instructions and photos demonstrating those instructions. Let's go over photos first; we'll cover guide text in Checkpoint 2.


Preparing and Uploading Your Pictures

Before adding pictures to your guide, you can use Photoshop or other software to lighten up or crop them so that they look better. However, we have a few guidelines:

  • Please do NOT use Photoshop to add markup to pictures. Instead, use iFixit's built-in markup tool (more on this below). This way your teammates and collaborators can edit the markup, whereas Photoshopped markup is permanently attached to the picture.

  • Keep your pictures as large as possible in terms of resolution. If a picture is 4000 x 3000 pixels in size, so be it! We love large images.

  • Click on the camera icon to upload a photo. This brings up your personal media manager, where you can manage your existing photos and upload new ones.

  • Crop your photos if necessary. Our software will prompt you to crop your photos to a 4x3 aspect ratio using the built-in tool. 4x3 is standard throughout the site; no other formats are permitted.


ARRRRRRR you ready to move on?

Better take one more peek with your good eye. Review all the requirements so that your grade doesn’t end up walking the plank and sleeping with the fishes. Send us your sample photos by uploading them into your guide and emailing a link to techwriting[at]ifixit[dot]com.