I want to start with this particular tip, since it is the most basic, should be the most obvious and is generally totally ignored. I will say it as simply as I can, “Read your Manual! ” If you want to know what a button does, don’t go ask someone who has never seen your camera. Go read the little booklet provided to tell you exactly what you want to know. Don’t know how to change a setting? You could get online and surf through half a dozen blogs, forums and help sites to try to figure it out or you could dig out that little pile of paper that tells you step by step what to do (they even often include neat little pictures to help you in the process). The folks at Nikon, Canon, Sony, Olympus, Fuji and even Kodak are geniuses (especially Nikon).These geniuses have somehow managed to cram several top notch photographers, each one specializing in a particular field of photogrpahy, into that little tiny box. They then gave you a written guidebook on how to unleash the photographer you need at the time you need him. The manuall will even tell you how to overrule the decisions of the photographers and add your own particular flair to the shot. Unless you have some mystical ability to divine the camera’s abilities merely by touching it, you need some help. The help is provided. The manual will tell you what every single mode does, why you can’t change some things in certain modes and how to maximize your control of the camera. Some manufacturers even go so far as to give you wonderful little tips about the best settings to use for certain situations. All in that handy little manual. Sit down one evening with your camera close by and read through the manual from front to back. Keep your manual handy, so when you have a question you can refer to the book that knows what you don’t. Read your manual, use your manual and your photography will improve.