Ok so a few of the things here have been posted, most using higher end camera with full creative controls, it isn't necessary Throughout this I used a five year old compact, though some of the pictures have been taken on the fuji because I didn't have the stuff lying about or to hand.
Step 1: Your camera you say?
So have a mess about with the settings on your camera, what can you change?
Does it have a manual setting? If so you're in luck, this gives you loads of control over your photos, if not don't fret about it, you just need to take advantage of the presets in the camera such as night mode.
Do you have macro? It's a big help in taking close ups, especially those going towards instructables...
If it has macro does it have fixed or auto-focus, 99% of the time yes but many cameras do appear with two lens focus presets, usually you have to twist part of the lens or some such to use them though. Manual focus is also really great for close ups because sometime the autofocus is simply no good.
Zoom? Not a neccessity but a nice feature to have.
Ok now you should have an idea of what your doing having just hoked through most of the settings, you can probably see which instructions to follow for camera settings.