Step 1: Choosing a Decent Camera
I'm not saying that this is the best way to choose a camera but it worked for me. My suggestions would be to check out all the cameras in your price range, play with them until the guy running the camera department starts looking at you with curiosity. Try taking pictures of your thumbnail if you are going to use it for macro. Take pictures of that shoplifter running out of the store to see if it blurs at all.
See steps 2 and 3 for more in depth explanations of what you might want to look for.
Step 2: Batteries!!!
I would also recomend to buy rechargable batteries. They cost more up front ($7.50- $12 for four) but they will last you a whole lot longer than a conventional alkaline battery. This will also keep them from landfills as well.
Step 3: Memory Cards
Another nice thing is that they make an SD Eye-fi card. These cards have a capacity of 2 GB and will upload your pictures to Flickr or Photobucket whenever you are in a wifi hotspot.
Step 4: Tripods
The Bottle Cap Tripod- This one is very nice if you always have a bottle of water. I myself don't usually have a bottle of water, so I don't use this one as much.
Bendable Tripod- This is the one I use most often. It is quite simply some tape, wire and a bolt. It is easy to make and has many more uses than the other tripods.
String Tripod- This one is nice because all you do is take it out of your pocket, screw it into your camera and step on it. Now you have a monopod. As it describes in the instructable you can make the string longer and add a cavelier clip to an extra string to make it a true tripod.
I've made each of these tripods and have concluded they are all really nice, thanks to "theRIAA", "shoeBlade", and "origamimarvin" for these instructables.
Step 5: Camera Bags
Step 6: Macro Settings
But wait, what about the rule of thirds, you ask? Well if you don't want to be arrested by the Photo Police then here's a trick. Just hold the shutter half-way as suggested above and just move the camera until the main object is obeying the rule of thirds. And finish pressing the shutter.
Step 7: Lighting
The "Golden Hours" aren't my favorite times to take pictures because they usually come out having an orangish glow on them. Which makes a nice picture but not if you want to see their face.