Make sure you have a focal point for your photograph. This should be the first thing that the viewer's eye is drawn to. Whether it's a flower, a person, or a bird, every shot you take should have a specific focal point. Don't only think about what the focal point is, but figure out the best spot for it in the shot.
You need to find a healthy mix of shutter speed, ISO and aperture. These are how you determine your picture's exposure. Over- or underexposed pictures should be steered away from, unless this is the particular look you are seeking. Take some time to experiment using these features so that you learn how they interact, and which combination you like best.
Shoot your subject quickly. If there is any chance of your subject moving, take the shot as quickly as you can. You never know when your subject will move, or get tired of waiting for you to take the shot. It's better to shoot right away and get too many pictures, then to wish you had.
Take your pictures quickly. The longer you hesitate, the better the chance that your subject will move away, break their pose, or become tired and stop smiling. Start taking shots as quickly as you can, and don't worry about getting the camera perfect before the first shot. The faster you shoot and the more photos you take, the better your chances are of getting a good one.
Use limitation to help you become more creative. For instance, you can base a whole set of pictures around a specific subject. Make an attempt to take 100 photos from a similar point of view or from the same small location. By doing this, you train yourself to create unique photos under the circumstances you have created.
Play with the idea of depth of field and aperture. Most photograph place their object in the center of their composition and have their background look blurry. Reverse this convention and blur your object to focus on your background. You can also play with the placement of your object in the picture.
A dSLR is required for all serious photographers. This type of digital camera will give you the most accurate view of your subject as you snap the picture. You should get a full-frame DSLR, as they have big image sensors and capture the most detailed shots.
Do not underestimate the disposable camera as a way to take wonderful photos. The technology has improved, and you can take shots equal to, and even better than, your durable film camera. Many disposable models also offer a built in zoom feature. New disposables are not the same old junk cameras they were ten years ago.
Use a diffuser to minimize the negative effects of flash photography. The built-in flash on most cameras produce photos that have a high light-dark contrast, which makes them look harsh and unrealistic. A diffuser diffuses the light from the flash, distributing it more evenly and making your flash photos look more natural.
If you are in a setting that would normally require landscape photography flash and you only have the built in flash on your camera, try changing your setting on your white balance and tuning your ISO setting. It will make it so you will not have to use the flash. Be careful to keep the camera very steady when doing this.