A few simple principles will help improve your photography.
You have your camera in hand and a beautiful scene is in front of you. Now how can you make sure to capture the moment perfectly? Here are some very basic principles of shooting pictures.
Rule of Thirds
One of the simplest rules of photo composition, the rule of thirds can make a big difference in any photograph. Essentially, this rule splits the frame of the photograph into thirds horizontally and vertically. Compositions are more interesting when the predominant elements fall in the upper, lower, left or right thirds. Check out this link for a more in depth explanation plus some illustrations for you visual learners.
Shapes, Lines and Repetition
Shapes and lines can draw your eye to specific elements in a photograph. A triangular shaped road sign or a rectangular building can lead the eye in a certain direction. Repetitive elements can be pleasing to the eye as well.
Every point and shoot camera has settings that automate some of the manual processes you would go through on a DSLR to shoot photos in specific settings. Most point and shoots, for instance, have settings for landscape, portrait, macro, night, etc. These settings really differ from camera to camera, so it’s best to consult the guidebook or manufacturer website to read the definitions of these settings and the situations when you should use them.
DSLRs, on the other hand, give you the ability to alter various settings, like ISO, aperture, and shutter speed, manually in order to get the best image in any scenario. Instead of rambling on and on about each manual setting and how to best manipulate it, here are some extremely helpful links that will explain these elements much more eloquently: