Although at a certain level photography could be viewed as a simple hobby easily picked up by anyone, looking at it like that pretty well guarantees that you will be that person with a bunch of portraits that look like passport photos and other shots that look pretty ordinary… at best.
However raising yourself above that does not mean you have to undertake some kind of rigorous professional training either!
So here are a few simple tips to be going on with.
If at all possible get a camera that will take an external flash rather than using the one mounted on the camera. Direct, flat flash light may not be the most harsh and unflattering light ever created… but it comes close.
Being able to direct the light from the flash slightly away for your subject or having the light bounce of a light colored surface like a white ceiling will make a world of difference.
Better still a simple diffuser covering your flash will work wonders as well.
When taking pictures of small animals or children, get down to their level. Remember that a shot taken from above will cause the subject to look smaller and often has the effect of making the subject appear out of proportion with their surroundings.