Tips for Better Photographs
Try to shoot in the morning or at dusk.
Unless you are specifically wanting a bright blue sky in your shot, you will take better photography in the early morning or near dusk. At these points of the day, light is softer and clearer. Midday light gives harsh shadows and makes pictures look flat. Overcast days work very well too, especially for taking pictures of people or flowers--because the clouds soften the light and decrease shadows. Understanding and observing light is the most important technique to good photography.
Learn your camera - Get out of Auto Mode!!
Explaining the role of aperture, shutter speed, ISO, exposure, and lens length is beyond the scope of this guide, but there are plenty of books and online resources for learning about your camera. A good basic digital photography book will probably be clearer to understand than your camera's manual, as manuals don't often define the terms that they use. Remember, your camera doesn't know what you want your photos to look like, you do! With it in automatic mode, you get to make very few decisions about how to take your pictures. If you are serious about your photography, you may also want to consider buying a dSLR camera. It is definitely worth the investment because it gives you a much broader range of control over your photography, especially for action shots.
Be aware of what is happening at the edges of your picture.
Often people concentrate too much on the subject and don't notice distracting background elements. Moving a few inches to the left or right can help you avoid the common mistake of having a tree growing out of someone's head.
Simplify your photographs.
Don't try to include too much. Sometimes a small detail can say as much to the viewer as a large shot. For example, a shell in the water might be a more powerful photograph than a shot of the entire beach. Also, especially try to simplify backgrounds--a busy background can detract from your subject.
To add depth to landscapes, try to have something in the foreground, middle ground, and background.
This helps to lead the viewer's eye through the photograph and helps avoid having the photograph look flat. Also if you have a connecting element (like a river flowing through or a tree), this can also help guide the viewer's eye. Curving or diagonal lines are especially nice for this. An implied line can also be created by having several shapes or areas of brighter color that lead the viewer into the photograph.