Its ironic how many people will settle for average work with the photos they take. It is most probable because they know they are not professional photographers so they do not set any expectations on themselves. What they do not realize is that they do not have to be experts to get high quality photos.
Another problem we have is not learning enough about the equipment we have. Many of us go out and buy top of the line digital cameras then neglect to learn about what half of the features are and where we can benefit from them.
You may be surprised to learn that you really do not need a top-notch camera to get great pictures. What you do need is though some knowledge of the basics of photography. Here are a few steps to help you along your way to taking great pictures.
Do not be afraid of your subject. Get all of it in there. Unless of course you want a lot of background scenery. Many times amateur photographers are afraid to move in closer to their subject because they think their picture will be blurred or they will cut it too close and the subject will end up missing a part. Therefore, either move up or perhaps better still learn how to use your zoom lens.
Being dead on is not always the best. It is usually not hard to tell am amateur photographer. They are easily sighted because they stand directly in front of their subject making sure it is perfectly centered before they take their shot. You can achieve much more interesting photos if you learn to look at the form of your subject then concentrating on what the form is. Look at all the different shapes and lines, and then determine what would be the best angle to take your photo from. If you can get some spare, time read up on the subject of forms.
Forget about putting horizon lines dead center in your photos. They just do not help a good photo presentation. Keeping the object and what is around it still. If you are shooting a still object and something is moving around it then the photo will lose some of its value.
Make the colors work for you. It does not matter how many color there are learn how to get the best from their contrast.
We already talked about getting closer to your subject. What ends up happening when you take a picture that you wanted to get closer to you end up increasing the size of the photo in editing and losing its quality by doing so.
A delay in the shutter closing often makes you think the camera is not working, when actually there is most always a delay of a second or two. You must be one-step ahead of this by knowing what your subject is going to do by way of movement.
Use pan techniques to follow through on action shots when the shutter is slow. One of the shots should end up good. It is sort of a luck of the draw technique.
If you are in the market of purchasing a new camera and you have learned the technique of panning then purchase a camera that is capable of doing continuous shots.
For nighttime shots, gain some knowledge about the proper use of lighting and without it you just will not be successful in this area.
Take advantage of what you have. If you have a camera then you should have a manual so be sure to read it and get the most out of your camera.