The learning process in any venture is always slow and the results come slowly as you progress to a level of competence. We want to get to the ability levels of others as quick as possible with as little effort as possible. It doesn’t work like that, BUT, with photography it’s a little different. If you are prepared to take some time and learn a few keys you will dramatically improve your photos.Our instant society demands instant results and after buying an expensive digital camera you want to see results and quickly. And, if you don’t there is disappointment. There is some hope though. I can’t take you to a highly of competence without time and effort. What I can do is show you a few things that will help you speed up the process a little and dramatically improve your existing images.1. Think before you shootIf there is one thing that I can encourage you to do and that is take just a little time to think before your press the shutter button. Ask yourself a few questions as to what you are shooting, is it a good subject, does it make you feel good and have I placed the subject in the best possible place.2. Choose a good focal pointThe focal point or the subject of an image should always take the most prominent place in your image. This is the part of the image that draws the eye of the viewer into the photos. Ask yourself whether the subject is clearly the subject and if there focal point is clear to the viewer. Place it on a two thirds intersection to give balance. This is achieved by placing and imaginary tic-tac-toe or naughts and crosses grid over the image. Where the lines intersect are the two thirds intersections.3. Be selectiveThere is nothing wrong with being choosy as to what you are going to photograph. Random shooting is as bad a drive by shooting in a gang war. You aren’t really focused specifically on a target but just shoot in the general direction. Look for your subjects and identify the most relevant ones for your particular image. Ask yourself why it should be in the final photo. If it passes then press the shutter button.4. Get in closerWe always tend to stand too far back from our subjects and by doing this include too many extras in the photo that either have no relevance or are just clutter and make the scene too busy. By getting in closer you get to see more of the subject and a lot more detail. Later on in life when reviewing your memories you wish you could see more of the loved one who is no longer with you. Coupled with this is filling the frame more. Get more of the subject or scene into the image.5. Have funOne of the problems with the learning process is that we tend to forget about having fun. It’s a hobby which you’ve chosen to relax and enjoy so the element of fun must be there. If it’s not then you’re defeating the object of the exercise. So try to remember to enjoy yourself. If you don’t get it right the first time, appreciate the shot you have taken and endeavour to try again at a later stage. Never let the fun element slip.I cannot help you become a competent photographer in a few lines of text. What I can do is give you a better foundation and a start to great image taking. Learn to enjoy yourself and constantly work at practising your art and as you learn digital photography review what you’ve done and then work at improving. Happy shooting!