A great article at 500px on tips and tricks for photography beginners by D.L Cade. Nothing earth moving - really just common sense. A summary follows. I have any of my additions in italics.
1. Education First, Gear Second
Famed National Geographic photographer Jim Richardson once said “If you want to be a better photographer, stand in front of more interesting stuff.”
2. Shoot for Yourself, Not Everyone Else
To that end, if you’re shooting for Pulse—or likes, or +1s, or comments, or whatever—you’re doing it wrong.
3. Limit Yourself on Purpose
Setting limitations on yourself—whether it’s gear or time of day
you’re ‘allowed’ to shoot or even limiting yourself to ONLY
black-and-white for a month—is one of the best ways to grow. Master one at a time
4. Find Your Niche
You can’t master
adventure, travel, street, and wildlife all at once… or possibly ever. It’s always better to go narrow and deep than wide and shallow.
5. Slow Down
Shoot as if you only have 36 photos at your disposal.