Here are just a few things that I've picked up from art class, photographers, and things that I like:
- Rule of thirds. You will learn this in most any photography class, or basic art class. You want to divide your picture up by thirds. In this one I have it divided up by the sun burst, greenery and dandelion. This isn't the best example of using that rule, but it is a good one to keep in mind, especially for ocean or landscape shots. You don't want a picture of all ocean, and a tiny sliver of sunset and sky.
Be mindful of focal point. This will also be taught in art classes. What effect are you trying to achieve by your use of focal point? Keep in mind what you are using to draw attention: size, placement, color, texture, isolation, value, shape?
- Here is an example: perhaps you're using the element of value by taking a picture of a white bird flying in a dark and stormy background. If you're paying attention, you will be attentive to not let a bright red kite enter the picture and distract from the bird. You must pay attention to what draws your eye - if you're not careful, and don't keep in mind the different ways to draw attention, you may not end up with the focus you desired.
- Always get closer before zooming in. Zooming in can mess up the pixels and make the photo look funny - make the extra effort to get as close as you can before using the + button.
This one's just for fun. I like to think of my favorite quotes, or a song; something that inspires me. Then, I can add that to the picture later, or just think of it when I see that picture again. Either way, it helps me get in a mindset for what I'm looking for while taking pictures and adds personality to them.
- If you are taking a picture that you'll want to add a quote to though, make sure there is enough "blank" room to put it in. Some background that isn't too busy or focused.