First, good photographers are always trying to think outside of the box. Impressive pictures surely come from changing the perspective or view point of view. Take a close up! Snap a few shots of interesting details. Or try capturing just a portion of something instead of the whole. Aim your lense up high, or down low. You'll be amazed with your own ability and the creative nature of your pictures as you start altering your viewpoint.
This perspective is run-of-the-mill boring:
Here's a much more interesting and compelling angle:
Next, get out of the habit of having your subjects in the center of the photo. In almost every art, centering is a sign of an amateur—and we are NOT amateurs, are we?
The main focus of this picture is off to the left just a little. This photographer knows the rules—that focus points shouldn't be directly in the center.
Along with that, good photographers abide by the "rule of thirds." Basically, if you were to draw imaginary lines (both horizontally and vertically) that divided the picture into thirds, you would want your point of focus to be where those lines are. Here's an example.
These waves break right in the center of two lines. This does not follow the rule of thirds.
In this picture, the waves are breaking right on the top horizontal line. This is a better usage of the rule of thirds.
Diagonal lines in pictures are considered more pleasing than a straight line. Here are some good examples of strong diagonal lines.
Next, always keep your lighting in mind. We suggest that a flash be used outdoors on most occasions. Also, it's important to know your camera's flash range.
This is, quite obviously, a bad example of lighting.
This is a better photo because the flash was used outdoors.
Okay, you're almost on your way to flawless photography. There are just a few more tips for taking pictures of people. We recommend getting close up and on the right level. If you're taking pictures of a little tike, become a little tike yourself.
This picture is not as impressive as it could be.
This photographer got on this little girl's level. This is a much better picture.
Finally, try action and candids out for size! You'll love the result. This will give you a wider variety of pictures to scrapbook with. And capturing a moment candidly will better portray the feelings and atmosphere of the events you're documenting.