Taking amazing photos and creating jaw dropping edits does not require having the best gear. Don't get me wrong, you will definitely get better prints from DSLR cameras and you will need some extras to get some of the more professional looking photos. However, your everyday picture taking can become masterful works of art with just a few tricks. Simple point and shoot cameras can even produce superior quality if you following a couple guidelines and above all- know your camera.
We are going to go over some basics, but if you want to get more in depth and REALLY push your photography to a higher level I would suggest checking out The DailyDigi's Photography Class section. It is chalked full of great tutorials and tips/tricks to make the best out of your photos.
First lets talk about composition- Rule of Thirds if you will. This is all about making the view plane of your photo balanced. Keep in mind everything you are taking in with the photograph you are about to take- move yourself around the subject(s) to get just the right amount on each side.This will also help make sure no heads/arms/feet are being chopped out of the photos :)
Lighting is also a key factor in your photos. The best time of day to take photos is after dawn and before dusk when the sun is lower in the sky. You will want to avoid direct sunlight- as this will overexpose your images, and go for a front lighting on your subjects as opposed to a back lighting (Unless you are wanting to do a silhouette)Also when indoors, remember to be further away from the subject than you are your wall- This will help avoid the dark shadowing.
Capturing the moment (Or candids) are a huge trend in photography and really awesome for scrapping. Keep the camera handy at all times and let it become part of the atmosphere. This will help your subjects loose focus on being cam hams and go about their business as usual. Practice with them by setting up a project or going to an event and be a snappy happy person. After a few clicks and flashes they will forget your even doing it :)
Angle is also important. There are three main ways to angle a photo- Straight on, worm's eye view and bird's eye. Try snapping in a creative way to help accent the photo and really capture the moment. Don't be afraid to move around.
worm's eye bird's eye
Cropping is key as well after a photo has been snapped. Not only do you want to make sure it is formatted for your print needs- but this could also give your photo a whole new life. Creative crops could make something fabulous out of something ordinary.
before crop and edit
Edits are also a big thing to help enhance your photos and will help make them have a professional appeal. This can help you balance your colors, fix flash problems and enhance features to really make things pop. Charm Box Studios has some amazing photo editing tools as well as many others available online free through searching. Just type in your programs name and photo tools and you are sure to find some amazing ones.
before and after
Hope this has helped inspire you to go get snapping!!