Keep an eye on the weather outside. Weather conditions can create many opportunities to improve or destroy a great picture. You can still get some great outdoor shots on a cloudy day. Compose your photos so that the gray sky is not actually in the frame. Don't let it stop you from taking great pictures.
Take your pictures quickly. The longer you hesitate, the better the chance that your subject will move away, break their pose, or become tired and stop smiling. Start taking shots as quickly as you can, and don't worry about getting the camera perfect before the first shot. The faster you shoot and the more photos you take, the better your chances are of getting a good one.
Most people purchase digital cameras never use them to their full advantage because of the number of features, and what they all do, can be absolutely overwhelming. To make the most of your digital camera, no matter if it is a basic model or bordering on the professional, check out a local community college for a digital photography class. These classes are usually very inexpensive, offered for just a few nights, but can put you in touch with an instructor who can give you some great advice and instruction.