Practice, practice, practice
This is by far the most important, but it must be done consistently and with a concentrated effort. It took me a long time to understand the relationship between each of the crucial settings on my first camera, but the more I practiced and experimented, the quicker I understood, and then once it just clicked and I no longer had to think about it.
Practice costs nothing other than time, especially now that we are in a digital age with a delete button, to erase our mistakes!
Simplify the scene
Including too much in your scene is often too much to view, hence why one of the most effective techniques is to lessen what’s in your shot. Keeping a single subject, complemented by a plain simple background or surroundings will make all the difference.
Line edges up
Using the edge of something in your scene to interact with another edge creates a visual pathway. The shoreline of a beach leading out to a headland can create the impression of a continual line. Use these to your advantage, line up as many things as possible to lead to your subject.
Tell a story
I am always looking for a way to convey a message in my photography, and it can often mean finding a bizarre angle, a lower vantage pint or simply getting closer. But all in all, every photograph is about telling a story and to do so, you need a connection. The stronger the connection between your subject and its surrounds/environment, the stronger the message, therefore the stronger the appeal of the image. Look to include items/things/views etc that compliment the subject or challenge it, either way, questions drawn from your image, all lead to building a story.
Experiment with colour
A colour photograph isn’t the aim for every photograph. Experimenting with different colour hues, such as converting to black and white or sepia, or some other monotone, or even just desaturating (removing some intensity) the colour a little can help be less distracting. Too much colour, can sometimes distract the viewer from the subject, because they wow over the colour and then look for a subject. It’s all about experimenting.
Show it off
Showing you work is one of the best ways to get feedback. Show your images to everyone you can, friends, family and little to their very first reaction… “wow” or “oh OK”, or “that’s nice”. The latter two is your first indicator that the image didn’t grab their attention immediately.
Look at what can be improved and get out there.