Theres more to taking a picture than just picking up your camera and snapping away. Ask a professional photographer what makes a great image and you will end up with a list as long as your arm. Composition, exposure, lighting techniques etc etc. This knowledge comes from years of experience and practise, so to save you some time I put together some quick tips to help you turn those snap shots into great shots.
1. Take Your Time
Simple but very important. It is true that many great images could be classed as quick shots capturing events as they unfold but taking your time to ensure you have the shot you want will produce far better results.
2. De Clutter
Something that many photographers forget to do ( sometimes even the professionals too ). Look around the scene, remove that old bike from the bottom of the garden or those crisp packets from the park. Clutter in the image is easier to remove before you push the shutter button and take the picture. Don't forget about things that can't be moved like signs, bins, lamp posts etc. Simply move position and make sure there out of the shot.
3. Portrait or Landscape
Simply put, this means turning the camera horizontal or vertical. When deciding which way to shoot its worth thinking about what you want to include in the image, if you want to include the surroundings a landscape image may work best, if its just a head and shoulders shot then go for portrait.
Finding the right location can make or brake an image. Try to find somewhere that fits in with the subject for example a car may look nice sat on a nice grassy field but it would look far more at home out on the open road or even a race track.
Getting the composition right will also help transform your pictures. Instead of putting the subject in the middle of the image try moving it over to the side. A tool commonly used by photographers is the "rule of thirds". Imagine 2 horizontal lines going across the viewfinder and 2 vertical lines combined together to make a grid, then try placing your subject on the spot where two of those lines intersect. This method usually provides a more pleasing composition the simply sitting the subject right in the middle of the frame.