Originally Posted by VisualRemix
I'm going to be honest and sound like a jerk. But here's what you need to work on first. The basics.
-Use manual mode
After your first 10,000 shots in Manual mode, you will recognize the difference in skill.
You will thank me later.
Using manual settings on your camera certainly has it's place in helping photographers learn more about photography, but I would not limit anyone to only use manual mode. Getting the best quality sometimes results from choosing the right mode for each situation. Sometimes using all manual settings will make you miss shots because of taking longer to set the camera, or from getting shots that are too dark or too bright.
I often use Shutter Priority or Aperture Priority to get moments that happen too fast for me to use manual mode. Also, there are situations when lighting changes from moment to moment, so using some automatic exposure features can be helpful in getting better exposures. Decide which is more important in a situation; choosing a precise shutter speed, or a certain aperture. If your shots are not looking the right exposure, use Exposure Compensation, which lets you use some, or all automatic exposure, and still guide the exposure to be brighter or darker.