all these tips can be applied to any camera, and all the example images were shot and edited using only my phone.
Tip 1: Teach yourself to recognise good light.
I’m putting this up front because I can’t emphasise it enough, and it’s something you can practice every minute of the day, with or without a camera. Photography means, ‘writing (graph) with light (photo)’. Any camera you own is only a light proof box which captures light coming in. Some are fancy, some are simple, but this is always the essence. The single biggest tip I can give you is ‘learn to recognise and appreciate good light’, then capturing it becomes the easy part. Is the light coming in through the trees in a beautiful way? What is the colour of the light? Is it bouncing off a reflective surface and doing something interesting? Is it creating unique shadows? If you can learn to see good light you are halfway to becoming a good photographer.
Tip 2: Compose your shot.
There are many schools of thought on how to compose a photograph, but a solid basic principle to start with is the good old ‘rule of thirds’. You want to imagine breaking your frame up into 9 blocks of equal size, and the easy way to do this is to mentally draw two vertical and two horizontal lines across the thirds of the frame. Now to use this pattern in your framing you either want to compose any interesting vertical or horizontal lines on these imaginary thirds, or you want to place any points of interest on one of the four intersections of these lines. It sounds complicated but the idea will click quite quickly if you give it a go, and it will serve to get you thinking about how shapes intersect and arrange within the frame.
On top of this it will give you a more pleasing composition than just pointing your camera straight at a subject. The trick then is to learn this, and other techniques which get you thinking about arranging elements within the frame, and then learn when to break the rules. Here are a couple of examples of using the rule of thirds: