Learning photography is easy and you don't need a big fancy camera to do it. Seriously, anyone can do it, all it takes is a little direction and practice. I have often been asked how I learned to take "such wonderful photos" and the answer is simple, I love what I do and keep practicing to get better at it. Although, there is one secret to always showing "wonderful photos", but I will talk about that later. Photography is like anything else in life that you want to be good at, if you don't practice you don't get better.
I have personally taught several people how to use a DSLR camera and I always tell them this, "Now that you know how to use the features and settings on your camera, you need to practice using it to convey the image you see in your head and not with your eyes." Many times you see something in front of you and think "Oh, WOW! Look at that!", then you take out a camera and snap a photo. When you tell someone about what you saw, what ever it may be, you are probably excited and detailed in your description, then you pull out your photo to show what you saw and the response is something like, "Oh?... I see..." In other words, you captured what was there, but you did not capture what your mind saw.
For example, look at the first photo above. If I told you that I just saw the most interesting flower I had ever seen in the Rio Grande Valley and I showed you the first photo, what would your reaction be? Now what would your reaction be if I showed you the 2nd or 3rd photo instead? I think you get the picture. (pun intended)
So, if you want to start getting better here is what I want you to start doing the next time you bust out any camera, even the one on your phone. Study what you are looking for a moment, then ask yourself "What makes this so interesting to me?" Once you can answer that question, find a creative or interesting angle to capture the image in a way that will translate what you personally see and not just what is there.
While there are many "Rules", techniques and methods to photography, as well as high end cameras that can help better interpret what you see; you don't necessarily need any of them to make a good photo. All you have to do is stop and think a little. Oh, and that one secret I mentioned earlier, again it's simple, the best way to show "wonderful photos" is to only show your best work. For every "wonderful photo" I personally show I have 50 that are not so wonderful, and that number was much higher when I did not practice.
If you find that you have a passion for photography and decide you want to learn more, such as how to use a manual camera, feel free to reach out to me to schedule one on one sessions. I am free to lead sessions on Sundays for individuals or groups that are interest, for a small fee. First 3 hour session is free. Drop me a message via eMail, Text Message, Voice, Facebook or Twitter so we can set something up.
Keep practicing and have fun doing it.