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Improvise if you need a tripod and don't have one. Try placing your camera on top of your camera bag on the ground or a table, or use a trashcan or ledge. Adding a beanbag or a jacket can help you get the picture. And if you use the self-timer to trip the shutter, you won’t create blur by moving the camera when you take the picture.
Knowing your subject maximizes your chance of success. If you want to photograph bees, learn their habits. Same thing goes for flowers. Some bloom only in sunlight, others every two weeks. Find out when plants and animals show their full potential and your pictures will reflect your research.
Look for reflections off water. Elements of water can greatly enhance your landscape photographs. Early mornings tend to have the most tranquil, and thus more reflective, water. Try framing your shot with equal elements of water and sky.
Most cameras get their exposure readings when you depress the shutter release halfway down. If your subject is off center, point the camera at your subject and press the shutter release halfway so that it can get the right exposure and lock the focus, then re-compose your image and finish pressing the shutter.
To take a sharp slow-speed shot without a tripod, hold the camera steady and take a deep breath—and hold it—before you press the shutter release. By holding your breath you’ll stop a lot of your body’s movement.
Creating a pan of a moving subject is useful for creating images when the subject is in focus but the background is blurry. To do a smooth pan, place the focus point of your camera on something you can easily track (like the driver’s window on a car, head of a runner) and follow along with the subject well before you press the shutter release button.
On photo sharing sites like Flickr you can often view the details of a photograph and take a look at the shutter speed, aperture, ISO and other settings. While this won’t teach you how to create a photo from scratch it will show you what technical choices photographers made to capture their images.
If you’re taking pictures to sell something on an auction site like eBay, find a way to isolate the object from the background. Lay out a solid colored sheet or blanket, bring over some lights and try to make it into a still life by focusing on the details of the item.
Give yourself a photographic assignment—a photo topic if you will—and spend a day or a weekend working on it. Shoot old cars or street signs. By focusing your creative mind on a single topic you’ll be forced to think of different ways to capture that subject.
Take a step back. No, farther back. See what the scene looks like from far away to get perspective. Walk around it, to see it from different angles. There’s a tendency to rush up to something and take a photo, but if you look at it from different angles you’re more likely to find something you would otherwise have missed.